The coronavirus and restrictions on movement have created a sense of uncertainty for many couples and parents. During these difficult times, many New Yorkers may have urgent questions about domestic violence and spousal abuse, and about their parenting and custody agreements.  Our firm is currently open for business.  We offer remote consultations without charge, by secure video or telephone. We are here to answer any pressing questions you may have, and to speak about any family law and divorce issues that are of concern.  We want you to stay safe and healthy. If you wish to meet with an attorney remotely, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Insider Tip for Low Visibility in High Visibility New York Divorce: Private Judges

Insider Tip for Low Visibility in High Visibility New York Divorce: Private Judges

New York divorces are big news when big names are involved. The Rudy Giuliani/Judith Nathan divorce has entertained the masses (and sold copies of tabloids), every expensive and humiliating step of the way. 

New York divorce trials are open and accessible to anyone who wants to sit in the courtroom and exploit what they observe. When you go through a divorce trial, you're basically inviting Page Six into your life. 

Most judges are not interested in helping to safeguard your public image, even if you are a high profile individual.

The truth is that any public disclosure about your divorce could absolutely harm you. Released details about your company, financial assets and their values, private behavior in a relationship, and family details can deeply and significantly damage your image, your personal or corporate brand, stock value, and business holdings. Not to mention that if you value privacy and discretion, you will swiftly see those concepts fly out the window in an open divorce. 

Public divorces often provide a platform for slandering the other spouse as a method for getting a leg up in a custody case and proving parental unfitness. While it might feel satisfying to have all of your spouse's wrongdoings laid bare for public judgment, the truth is this everyone is hurt because no matter the absolute truth of the allegations that you make, your spouse's attorney is almost certain to hit back with ugly and twisted half-truths as body blows against you. 

You both face damage to your business and reputation. Still, the ultimate loser in this kind of fight is always the children, who are emotionally damaged as their parents dispute over how best to nurture them.

All of this creates quite a situation when you have to get out of a bad marriage. The press is free to tell the world the details of your net worth. Any information about your business valuation that's bandied about in court can make into the newspapers. 

The gritty details about your marriage are available to anyone. All the private information about your children and your relationship with them is dissected loudly so that all of their classmates will be sure to hear about it and use it to bully them. 

Subjecting yourself and your family to an open courtroom and accessible court records is not only painful but shortsighted. If you proceed through a standard divorce, you might as well litigate it in the middle of Fifth Avenue. 

Fortunately, there is an elite solution for high-end divorces: private judges.

Instead of utilizing public judges in the public court system, you and your spouse pay for an exclusive private judge to handle your case from start to finish. You and your attorneys agree to handle your case through this ultra-private litigation pathway and agree that the decision the judge makes becomes a binding legal decision for your entire case, including issues of custody, asset division, alimony, and child support.

Private judges use arbitration, a confidential process that proceeds in the same manner as a regular trial, but behind closed doors, in private and comfortable offices. There is absolutely no press, and there is no public record of the process. Confidentiality is an essential component. In fact, no one even knows you are going through a divorce until the matter is concluded.

There is no luck of the draw here when it comes to your judge. The arbitrator is a carefully selected retired judge who has had years of experience in the divorce arena. Judges can be chosen based on their record as well as their direct experience with your type of industry, custody issues, international divorce, or foreign investments. The case is heard and resolved promptly because the private judge is not buried in an overwhelming caseload like public judges. These judges have time to give your case careful, detailed consideration. 

The judge holds your trial, and the lawyers agree on the rules and requirements that will be used in the process. Usually, it proceeds like a regular trial, with evidence and witnesses, testimony, and cross-examination, but all of this is up for negotiation before the process begins. In this private setting, the judge is more relaxed, and the process is not rushed. 

There is time for all of your issues to be raised and considered. Every document is carefully scrutinized and analyzed. There is no rubber stamping or cookie-cutter judgments in this realm. Hearings and meetings can be scheduled at your convenience. All evidence and testimony are given a thorough review, and your concerns are entirely heard.

After all of the information is presented and carefully considered, your private judge will render a detailed and thought out decision about all the aspects of your divorce. This becomes your divorce judgment. You both agreed to follow it, but that doesn't mean you can't appeal it. All of your rights for appeal are preserved and fully accessible if, for some reason, you get a result that doesn't fulfill your expectations. 

You walk away with your divorce completely concluded before the press gets wind of any of it. You're able to move on with your life and your business and put it all behind you. 

There is no reason to subject yourself to the Wild West of a public divorce courtroom. Private judges provide a discrete and exclusive option designed to safeguard your privacy, shield your children, and champion your concerns in a process that is fair, controlled, and ultra-confidential. 


Related topics: High Net Worth Divorce (57)

Dror Bikel

Dror Bikel is a Manhattan-based divorce and child custody lawyer. He founded and leads Bikel and Schanfield, New York’s best-known firm for high-conflict matrimonial disputes.

As founding partner of the Manhattan-based firm, Bikel & Schanfield, LLP, Dror Bikel’s 20+ years of trial and litigation experience offers invaluable insight in facilitating settlements, mediating disputes and obtaining superior results for his clients. A recipient of the New York Super Lawyers Award, Mr. Bikel is voted among the Top 5% New York State Family Law Attorneys.

To connect with Dror: 212.682.6222 or [hidden email] or online
To learn more about Dror Bikel:
To learn more about Dror's book The 1% Divorce: When Titans

For media inquiries or speaking engagements: [hidden email]

Recent articles: