Private Judges for Divorce

Regular readers of this blog know that I shy away from the constant stream of speculation and gossip regarding the private lives of celebrities. I blog about developments that seem relevant to family law, not just divorce news about movie and TV stars.

When news about a celebrity relates to family law, though, it’s fair game. Such is the case with the story in Slate Magazine tonight about The Secret Lives of Retired Judges and the role of a private judge in the divorce of Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt.

The author Daniel Engber called me about it this afternoon, so I had an inkling he was working on it. What he found is that if both the husband and the wife agree in California, they can hire a retired judge who will take an oath of office and then take on ALL the authority of a judge to decide the issues of that particular case, including the power to issue a divorce decree.

Unlike a divorce mediator, who works simply to help the parties agree on how to resolve the issues of their divorce, a private judge has the power to impose a resolution.