Public and Private Litigation Services

Public and Private Litigation Services

Our attorneys regularly appear in public courtrooms and before private judges.


Litigation in Public Courts

By default, parties in California who are divorcing will participate in the public court system. Most hearings and trials are held at the county courthouse and are open to the public. In addition, most documents and papers that are filed with the court are public records that can be viewed by the public.

The public court system provides divorce and family law dispute resolution services to all at a low cost; however, the public court system has a heavy workload and moves at a snail’s pace. Depending on your county, it can take years to resolve your family law matter. As judges get appointed by the Governor or elected by voters, they rotate through different departments at the county courthouse. This regular rotation of judges causes delays and inefficiencies and can also increase costs. It can also produce a lot of frustration for clients if the different judges seem to be making inconsistent decisions or announcing inconsistent priorities. 


Litigation Before Private Judges

To avoid the delays and frustrations of the public court system in California, many parties choose to conduct their divorce through private litigation, using a “private judge.” A private judge is typically a retired judge or family law specialist who has been granted special authority by the county’s public judges to hear and resolve family law disputes.


In contrast to the public court system, where the judge’s services are free, a private judge charges an hourly rate for their time. While the fees paid to a private judge can be substantial, private judges are always experienced in family law, efficient, and more available than public judges. Disputes get resolved faster, and complicated matters get the attention that they require. Plus, you are assured of having one judge addressing all issues in your family law case from beginning to end.

DISCLAIMERContacting Ford Family Law, PC (“the Firm”), or any of our attorneys through our website does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the Firm. You become a client of the Firm when (1) the Firm investigates for possible conflicts of interest that would prevent us from representing you, and (2) you sign a written engagement agreement that details the scope of the Firm’s engagement, the fee the Firm will charge, and other relevant matters. Normally, this process takes several days. Therefore, if your matter is urgent, you should not wait for our response to your inquiry. You should instead promptly find and engage another lawyer or law firm so that your rights will be protected.