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The Inner Workings of the Courthouse

The Inner Workings of the Courthouse

Listen Here:  https://judyweigle.podbean.com/e/navigating-the-court-system-wgayle-glazer-court-mediator/

The courthouse is not the friendliest place to be regardless of the type of case. But when it’s divorce, it’s horrible, beyond belief.

Let’s start with the cost. Bloody expensive if lawyers have to be hired. And sometimes, a divorce can’t be done without them. Hold on to your wallets and strap in to deplete them. Hopefully, the right lawyer is hired to expeditiously and without too much carnage help the divorce to a better end.

Self-Help Centers: For people who can’t afford legal representation, there’s the Self-Help Center, which is typically no help at all except in a few really cool courthouses that hold classes in how to file. Most courthouses have a Self-Help Center that distributes forms for the divorce. What most Self-Help Centers don’t do is help by providing guidance and answering questions about how to complete the forms, the order and timing of filing the forms. People who absolutely need to use the Self-Help Center because of financial constraints become frustrated and end up having to borrow money to go to lost-cost options outside of the courthouse.  There are a few courthouses, though, that hold classes on how to complete the forms. Invaluable service.

Translators: Languages become another barrier to filing. There are many people who don’t speak English. While that may be fine if living in a neighborhood with other people who speak the same language, it becomes problematic in a legal process because the language of this country is English. Legal proceedings are conducted in English. In order to accommodate court services to non-English speaking people, there are translators available. If a Hearing or courtroom procedure is scheduled, a translator can be requested to be present at the court proceeding.

Mediators:  Before many Hearings, the option to mediate exists. In most courthouses there are panels of mediators available to take parties to a separate room from the courtroom, either on the day of their Hearing, or in advance of their Hearing, to help people work out some portion of the issues that will be examined by the Judge. There isn’t as much time given – generally an hour – as in a private mediation outside of the courthouse, but for people who can’t afford private mediation, this option, even with limited time, can be helpful. And it’s free.

One of the more startling aspects of going to a Hearing is that they aren’t private. Anyone can walk into the courtroom. There are strangers sitting there watching and listening. It can be really scary, too, just being in a room where the decider, the Judge, in a robe, not smiling, sits high above everyone else. A fairly menacing energy exists. Being as respectful and courteous as possible, dressing well, and having evidence available for the Judge is integral to positioning the Judge to make the most informed decisions possible.

If court is needed, knowing how to use the court and function within the court system is imperative. No one can truly know the outcome of how a case will go, but being prepared and understanding how court functions is the way of maintaining some control over the outcome of the case.

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