Overriding Family Court Commissioners' Decisions: Options

Posted on: 30 May 2017

In many court districts, family court commissioners rule over family court. This allows the actual judges to take on more serious cases and not deal with the squabbles of divorcing couples. If you are divorcing or already divorced and find yourself returning to court repeatedly, you will undoubtedly be in front of a family court commissioner. That said, if you do not like the court commissioner's ruling on things and you want a judge instead, here is how you can overturn the judge's decision.

Go to Mediation with Your Ex

Clearly, when the decision is not in your favor, going to mediation with your ex is like pulling teeth. However, if your ex is somewhat reasonable, he or she may meet you in mediation for a more "fair" solution. If that actually happens, you can take the mediation counselor's notes back to court and have the commissioner set your compromises in stone.

De Novo Hearings

You can also request a de novo hearing. This means that your concerns are brought before an actual circuit court judge to be heard "for the first time," or "de novo," which means "of/like new" in Latin. If the judge wants to make a ruling or change a ruling in your case, he or she can. Otherwise, he or she may just send you elsewhere to deal with your issues and tell you to return when you have some "expert testimony" or you have reached a compromise in mediation. The one good thing about de novo hearings is that your lawyer can be present and argue your case for you, which the judge may be more inclined to hear because you have a lawyer.

Pro Se Override

You and your ex can also choose to "pro se" the court commissioner's ruling. That means that you and your ex draw up an agreement on your own regarding the ruling, then make a formal request of the courts to accept it as legal and binding. This is never recommended, since it tends to create more stress and strife, and one partner always tries to word the agreement in such a way that it can, and will, be interpreted by the courts as something entirely different at a different time and date in the future. If you already do not trust your ex, then definitely do not agree to legally override the court commissioner's ruling with a pro se agreement. Visit http://www.nfandglaw.com to learn more.