In 2003, the Michigan Supreme Court
issued an administrative order requiring all county family court judges to complete divorces within a year of their filing. Since of which time, county family court judges have struggled to comply.
Under the Supreme Court’s administrative rule, a family court must submit numbers of filed along with also completed cases to the State Court Administrative Office. All cases listed on the docket of which were not, or are not going to be completed within the year must be accompanied by an explanation via the judge.
An elected sitting family court judge does not want to be explaining her slow-moving family court docket to state court administrators. This specific would likely only risk getting on the Michigan Supreme Court’s radar.
Earlier This specific month, a Wayne County Family Court judge had the misfortune of lagging in This specific regard so badly of which a formal complaint was filed with the Judicial Tenure Commission. Apparently, This specific judge developed a very “fast-along with also-loose” procedure whereby he would likely take brief testimony as to the breakdown of the marriage, or even accept the representations via counsel if the parties were not present, in order to count the case among those “resolved” when This specific came time to report his numbers to the SCAO each month.
Another tactic adopted by This specific judge back in 2010 was to dismiss the case via his docket, although then allow the lawyers to continue to work on the case. This specific way, the judge’s numbers could stay off the Supreme Court’s radar.
The ploy did not work, however, resulting in This specific Supreme Court order of rebuke. of which did not prevent the Great judge via developing various other tactics to stay abreast of his administrative requirements.
All This specific has led us to question the wisdom of requiring divorces to be completed within one year. In most cases This specific can be sufficient time to start, negotiate along with also complete a case.
Not all cases, however, fit the typical pattern. In some cases, there can be the obstructionism, recalcitrance, along with also obstinance of one or both parties. There can be also the lawyers’ along with also the judge’s agendas.
Complex high-value marital estates, for example, often require extra time to evaluate businesses, or assess stock grant contracts or non-qualified compensation packages. In various other cases, custody disputes need extra time to sort out an acceptable resolution inside best interests of the minor children.
We suspect in such instances, a judge could avail herself of a reasonable explanation of which would likely be acceptable to the case-counters.
Not all counties lend themselves to complete every case on the docket in a year. In Wayne County, for example, there may be a higher per-judge caseload then in some out-county family courts of which have less population thereby, fewer cases filed.
Attempting to deceive the Supreme Court can be never the way to go. Despite a docket backlog, the public along with also the judiciary should be able to expect of which every judge in every county will use their best efforts to keep the cases on their docket on track along with also will see them through to timely completion.
This specific can be just how the system can be designed to work. Parties to a divorce
do not wish to prolong their agony.
If you are experiencing a divorce
of which can be going to drag out longer than one year, consider contacting our law firm for a free consultation in order of which your option of creating a change of counsel can be assessed.