In any legal action, particularly something as personal as a family law case, you (as a party) hope and expect to receive a fair hearing from the court. So, what can you do if after the conclusion of your case you receive a final judgment that seems to indicate that your judge was less than adequately impartial or independent in his/her decision-making? Depending on the specific flaws in your judgment, you may have options. At many steps in the process, you may have avenues for seeking relief. These issues point out how it can help to have a skilled South Florida family law attorney on your side who understands in great detail all of the possibilities that may exist to allow you to get justice.
The case of a husband named G.T. was an example of such a scenario. To better understand what happened in G.T.’s divorce, it is helpful to walk through the steps of a contested divorce. The court will hold a trial. Each spouse will receive the opportunity to present proof and witnesses, and to cross-examine the other spouse’s witnesses. Once the trial is over, a final judgment of dissolution of marriage must be entered by the court. It is not uncommon for one of the spouse’s attorneys to draft a proposed final judgment for the judge to review and sign.
Obviously, each spouse’s attorney is a zealous advocate for her client and will draft a proposed final judgment that includes findings of fact and conclusions of law that favor her client. The judge, typically, will use portions of what the attorney has written, discard others, and insert additional language that the judge created independently.