Personalities impact results.
I always tell people interested in what I do for a living that one of the many reasons my clients choose the collaborative process is because they don’t want some judge who doesn’t know either of them, or their kids, or share their values to make the decisions that will impact their families for the foreseeable future. But it seems that, even in a collaborative matter, completely resolved between the parties outside of court, a judge’s personality or education or experience or background can impact your results.
I was in court this morning on a final uncontested (collaborative) dissolution of marriage hearing, along with a motion to seal the financial records of the couple being divorced. (One of the reasons the couple had used the collaborative process to resolve their differences was because they knew that, in it, they had a better chance of keeping their personal and financial matters private.) When the time came to explain why we wanted her to seal the financial records, the judge was interested to know where my client works. When he told her which Big Four accounting firm it was, she smiled, waving away my attempt at a further explanation, and replied “Yes, I’ll grant the motion. I had a good friend who worked there for years. I know what their protocols are.”
Yet I have had other judges deny the same motion to seal the records, under the very same conditions.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m very grateful to the judge for granting my request. However, it just goes to show that, whenever there is any question of judicial discretion, the judge’s personal values and history will, without any doubt, impact your results.
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About this week’s authors: Joryn Jenkins.
Joryn, attorney and Open Palm Founder, began her own firm here in Tampa after a 14-year career in law, 2 of which she served as professor in law at Stetson University. She is a recipient of the prestigious A. Sherman Christensen award, an honor bestowed upon those who have provided exceptional leadership to The American Inns of Court Movement. For more information on Joryn’s professional experience, take a look at her resume.