As a Private Judge, Alexandra Leichter is available to other attorneys and their clients to provide an efficient, cost-effective, and family-centered approach to dissolving marriages and resolving other family law issues. Attorneys and litigants may opt to rely on Alexandra, serving as a Private Judge, to resolve all of their family law issues or merely a subset of the issues (while the remaining issues may be resolved by the public court system).
Judgments rendered in private trial have the same force and effect as judgments in public court trials. Court reporters may be present at hearings (per request of, and compensation by, the parties), standard rules of evidence apply, and decisions rendered can be appealed by either party directly to the Court of Appeal. Key benefits of Private Judging include:
» Trials can proceed without the unwanted and often extensive interruptions and delays of the public court system, because the schedule of the litigants and the attorneys can be easily accommodated by the Private Judge.
» Parties often pay far less in legal fees than they would via the public court system because:
» The delays, interruptions and postponements inherent in the public court system are significantly reduced (and often outright eliminated) in private adjudication.
» The significant fees incurred in educating judicial officers in public court about the relevant and applicable laws are not necessary in private adjudications by Alexandra Leichter because Alexandra is a Certified Family Law Specialist, Certified by the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization, and has over 40 years’ experience in litigating complex property, support and custody issues. Public judges, especially those newly assigned to the family law courts, often have little or no experience in family law matters; yet, they are asked to resolve some of the most complex and life-altering decisions families face. As a Private Judge, Alexandra’s extensive knowledge and experience in family law eliminates the guess-work and lengthy process of having to bring to the judge’s attention the intricacies of a complex family law case.
» Private trials typically proceed more quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively than public trials because the focus in a private trial is entirely on a specific dispute at hand, unlike the public courts where a Judge often handles a docket of over 30 cases a day.
» Private trials can help prevent loss of property, minimize the disruption in the lives of children, and resolve family law issues quickly, effectively, and as painlessly as possible. Alexandra can schedule meetings at off-peak times (e.g. 7:00am or 7:00pm), as well as on weekends or holidays. She can also respond promptly to emails and telephone calls from family law attorneys, which further expedites the process for all involved.
Family law litigants who want someone, like a judge, to resolve their disputes, but want that resolution to remain private and out of the public eye, can retain Alexandra to provide either binding (i.e., court-enforced) or non-binding arbitration. The key benefits of arbitration are:
» Arbitration is similar to Private Judging, but it has the advantage of being kept out of the public record. This can encourage spouses to more freely discuss issues and disclose documents without fear of public access. Arbitrations are always private proceedings whereas Private Trials are always public: neither the media nor the public is allowed in Arbitration proceeding without the consent of all the parties, whereas Private Trials with Private Judges must, by law, remain open to anyone who wishes to attend.
» Documents submitted to the arbitrator during Arbitration proceedings are confidential, and neither released to the public nor submitted to the court. Again, this extra layer of privacy encourages more open, honest communication between parties. Thus, especially in high profile and large asset/income litigation, Arbitration is the only method by which the parties can assure that the public does not have the opportunity to delve into and disseminate information about the parties’ private finances.
» Procedural rules and rules of evidence are much more relaxed in Arbitration than in trial.
» Although arbitrators generally do not have to follow substantive law and procedural rules as in trials, parties can choose to sign an arbitration agreement that does provide for the Arbitrator to abide by the procedural and substantive laws of the State of California, and can further provide, that the Arbitrator’s failure to do so entitles the parties to seek review of the entire proceeding in the trial court. Preservation of this right of review alleviates any party’s concern that the Arbitrator may opt to make awards that are not anticipated or which do not follow California law.