In every courtroom there is a mystery door, usually in the back corner. Within this door are the secrets of Court…
Litigants see the Judge and Lawyers disappear into this door. What seems like an eternity later, they emerge. Is one smiling? Does one have a scowl? What does it all mean?
These “chamber conferences” matter. This is where the Judge hears what the case is about. Each attorney is allowed a few minutes to tell their client’s side of the story, factually. The Court hears legal arguments as to this issue and that issue. In this conference the Judge may indicate what they are inclined to do. This is actually a good thing, usually.
You find out whether or not you are fighting a losing battle, or whether there will even be a fight.
I had a case where the parties were fighting over “Legal Custody.” Legal custody is the decision making right regarding the child, such as education, medical and general welfare areas. It’s extremely common for the parties to have Joint Legal Custody. However, this particular lawyer and client would not agree to Joint Legal Custody. It was about 2 minutes of discussion and the Judge said, “I almost always do Joint Legal Custody, unless there is a really good reason not to.” There was not a good reason. That resolved the last remaining issue.
Sometimes the conferences go against you. That causes questions of doubt between the lawyer and client. “Did my lawyer fight for my side?” You have to trust your lawyer and believe them. Also, they should advise you that the Judge indicated they were inclined to rule this way, but we can still have a hearing and we may be able to convince them otherwise. Probably not, but we may be able to. Ultimately, it is the client’s decision.
Usually, conferences help. It’s not underhanded nor improper if lawyers for both parties are participating.
Matthew Thompson is a family law attorney in Mississippi and usually welcomes Chamber Conferences.
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You may also contact Matthew with your family law case, question or concern at (601) 850-8000 or Matthew@bowtielawyer.ms