The Judicial Officer assigned in your Family Law or Dependency Law proceeding could be the most important non-factual part of your case. The reason is that the Judicial Officer will have the power to make a ruling that could easily impact the outcome of your case.
When you first file your family law case, you are assigned to a Judicial Officer who will hear your matter. Under California law, you are allowed to request a change of assignment. However, the question becomes whether you should or not.
Requesting a Change of Judge In a Family Law Case
Under California Code of Civil Procedure section 170.6, you are allowed to file an affidavit to have your family law case assigned to a different judge. However, you only have a small period of time to file this request. In addition, you don’t know if the new judge assigned to your case will be any better.
More specifically, in a family law case you find out who is hearing your case the day of your first hearing. Even though state law allows you to request a change of the Judicial Officer assigned to your case, you and your Central Valley family law attorney must be very diligent in your decision to request a change. And you only get one challenge throughout your entire case.
To Challenge or Not to Challenge
Your decision of challenging the judge assigned to your case could be one of the most important steps taken in your case. Your attorney will need to take various factors into consideration as to whether to make the challenge or not. In some cases, it may be more prudent to keep the case where it is because chances are it could get worse.
This peremptory challenge to request a change of your judge is a useful tool that should be taken seriously. Below are two important things to consider when making this decision:
- Whether the judge is known from moving from assignment to assignment – if so, there is no reason to request the challenge since the judge will most likely leave on his or her own.
- Alienation or punishment by the judge – some judges may take the 170.6 challenge personally and use it as a way to punish the party requesting the change
The bottom line is that before requesting a change, you and your Central Valley family law attorney should understand your judge and their style in evaluating the evidence and ruling in cases similar to yours.
Call an Experienced Central Valley Child Custody Attorney
If you are involved in a child custody battle or simply have questions regarding child custody, it is important that you have a knowledgeable attorney fighting for your rights. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with a Central Valley child custody attorney, please call Gurjit Srai (209) 323-5558 or (559) 449-1447, or complete our online form.