1. You Might Lose. Half of the people that go to court lose. In every case, there is a winner and a loser. And even if you win, you may lose, because of attorney fees and other costs, like the lasting acrimony and damage that a trial can cause.
2. Trials Are Expensive. Trials involve enormous expense, time and uncertainty. You have to take time off from work. Lawyers and expert witnesses may cost thousands of dollars. You are spending your kid’s college money.
3. Lawyer Time is Not the Same as Real People Time. The system is slow. It takes a long time to get to trial and the judges do not always rule at the end of the case. They may take a case under advisement at the end of the trial, which means they want to think about it. Then you may not get the result for weeks or months. And then there are the appeals.
4. Judges Are Not Trained for This. Psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers are trained in human behavior. Many mental health professionals have expertise in custody evaluations. Judges on the other hand are lawyers.
5. Decisions Are Being Made by a Stranger. Judges are strangers to your life and marriage and they are called upon to make a decision after hearing only a few hours or a few days of testimony about a marriage that may have lasted for years.
6. There Is No Lie Detector at the Bench. There is no truth detector at the judge’s bench. The courthouse is not a fairness store. It is a decision store. One party wins and one party loses. Judges are only human, they are not perfect, and the winning party is not always the deserving party.
7. Judges Are Limited in What They Can Do. They are also limited by the legislature in how they must rule. Private agreements between the parties are not. You can be much more creative than the judge can.
8. Judges Are Not Perfect. Judges are only human and they make mistakes. We pay them to make decisions, and resolve disputes, not to be all knowing. Sometimes they make the wrong decisions. Do not think because you are right, that you will win.
9. Even When You Win, You Lose. Custody trials can be very destructive to relationships. Children are put in the middle. After the trial, you still have years to raise children with the mother. You may have won the battle but lost the war.