Family law expert, Henry Gornbein, shares his thoughts on what makes a good family court judge: What Makes a Good Family Court Judge? by Henry Gornbein
Gornbein is a practicing attorney in Michigan for more than 40 years who also works as a public speaker and author. He offers valuable insight from inside the courtroom.
Gornbein says some family court judges exhibit “Black Robe Syndrome” where they are arrogant, forget about the law or the needs of the litigants before them, and have a “holier than thou” attitude. However, Gornbein believes most judges are fair, considerate and work hard to resolve the issues in a case.
Gornbein then shares what attributes, he feels, makes a good family court judge, including (for full list please visit link above):
- Work towards resolution, and go to trial only as a last resort
- Remember that you are human, and could face a divorce or a similar issue as a litigant in court… i.e. treat others how you would want to be treated
- Listen, and show compassion
- Maintain control over proceedings in the courtroom, do not let arguments go on endlessly
- Be fair and unbiased
What do you think makes a good family court judge? Share your ideas in the comments section!
On a personal note. I was the victim of a crime, and when the offender was apprehended, I went to criminal court to make a victim impact statement. While I was awaiting my turn, I had the opportunity to watch the judge attend to business on other cases.
What I liked about this judge:
- I was very impressed with this judge, he had an ability to balance the need for punitive action but also made the effort to instill lessons, and offer opportunities for litigants to get needed help, resources or to take steps to improve their situation.
- The judge explained his decisions clearly, and when speaking to the litigant, he looked them in the eye and spoke with a firm but neutral tone. There was no lecturing, shaming, yelling or speaking down to litigants.
- The judge was willing to work with the prosecuting attorney, and other professionals involved in the case, to consider other remedies or solutions. Or to incorporate those ideas or solution within the remedy of the law.