Help! My judge is biased…. What to do next
July 8, 2022 Divorce
Judges are human. They have bad days like the rest of us. They make mistakes like the rest of us. Bias is a whole different ball game than just a bad ruling. A biased judge consistently rules in one spouse’s favor: no matter the motion, no matter the evidence. If you feel that is happening in your case, let’s explore together what is going on.
Start by asking an experienced attorney if they view the judge’s ruling as biased as well. I’ve watched parents claim bias when the judge denied their fourth (nearly identical) motion for overnight visitation when they were couch surfing at various friends’ homes and did not have a home or beds for their kids. By all means, that is a tough spot to be in, and the parent should have daytime parenting time to continue the bond between parent and child, but that’s not quite biased.
On the other hand, judges can get frustrated with a particular spouse. That frustration sometimes overshadows their good judgment. Clients often call us asking us to file a motion to remove the judge from the case. Is that a good option?
Removing a Bias Judge From Your Case
Removing a judge from a case because of bias is a tall order. It is difficult to be successful on a motion to disqualify a judge because most judges work hard to get the correct ruling. Even if a judge is more ‘pro mom’ or ‘pro husband’, it is unlikely that a judge will agree or even realize that they could have made a better ruling.
Once you file that motion to disqualify, you notified the judge of your lack of confidence. Think about it: that is not going to help you during future hearings; especially if the judge’s rulings were within an acceptable range.
Suggested Next Steps to Take When You Think Your Judge is Biased
If you strongly believe that your judge was biased, you should explore all other avenues to get more favorable rulings first. We have a few suggestions when you think your assigned judge is biased.
Do not repeatedly file the same or similar motions.
If the judge denied your motion, filing the same motion again within a short period of time is very likely going to give you the same results. Especially with custody or parenting time motions, you will need to show a change in circumstances or proper cause before you may bring the motion again. If you file a motion without having a proper basis, Michigan court rules provide that the judge may sanction you.
Prepare for your hearings
Many judges’ caseloads exceed the time they have available each day to thoroughly review everything. This means that the judge only has limited time to hear each case. If your spouse provided the judge with significant evidence ahead of the hearing and you did not, you may not receive the time necessary to discuss an equal amount of your evidence.
We get it. When a judge rules against you, you want to walk away angry. You should not. There is no benefit, and it will hurt your case if you make snide comments.
Get a second opinion
Changing your trial strategy may be necessary and beneficial once you lose several key motions. Get a second opinion from another attorney on how they would handle your case.
Contact a Kraayeveld Law Office P.C Attorney Today
If you have questions about your case, contact us online 24/7 or give us a call at 616-285-0808 to discuss if you are on the best path possible to a successful outcome in your case. We look forward to hearing from you.