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Divorcing couples value judge’s fairness in court

A retired Ann Arundel County judge passed away recently, seemingly very well respected by both his professional colleagues and the people who presented their cases before him. Like many judges, he handles a variety of cases while he served on the bench. He was soft-spoken and had a very even temperament, but he balanced this out with a keen intellect and a very direct way of speaking to people.

Thankfully, because of his character, people who came before the judge often felt that he had given them a fair shake, even if they did not agree with the outcome of their case. As a divorce lawyers knows it is important for a judge to hold the confidence of the two spouses standing before him or her. A divorce attorney has to assure his or her client that the judge will divide marital property fairly and according to Maryland law in order for the client to have faith that the system will work.

After all, judges in divorce cases usually have considerable discretion when making a ruling. Unlike other types of cases, usually appellate courts will allow a divorce judge’s decision to stand except in very few cases, believing that the local judge has the best perspective when deciding how fairly to divide marital property and, when children are involved, how to arrange custody, visitation, and child support.

Furthermore, one of the most important things a divorce attorney can tell a client — aside of course from the law itself — is how he or she thinks a judge will decide a particular issue in a divorce. What the attorney thinks a particular judge will decide may have considerable bearing on whether the attorney’s client insists on having a court decide custody and property issues as opposed to settling outside of court.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, “Michael E. Loney, Arundel judge,” Jacques Kelly,Oct. 10, 2012

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