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They're People Too: Knowing the Judge's Sympathies Can Be Essential to Winning a Case

We practice family law in a number of counties. While the majority of our divorce cases and other family law cases take place in Bexar County, we are frequently advocating in Kerr, Kendall, Guadalupe and Comal counties--and are no stranger to counties in west Texas and deep southeast Texas as well, on behalf of our clients. And in the process, we've learned that there's a range of judges who oversee each case we try, some of who are knowledgeable and friendly and fair, and some who are less so.

I've encountered at least one judge in a small county who admitted to the lawyers that in his court, there were not much need for familiarity with the Texas Family Code, and we were arguing a high-conflict case where it most definitely applied.


In another case, I advocated for a gay client and lost, when the facts and the law were squarely on her side. The very next week, I was horrified to read the Judge's letter to the editor where he espoused an anti-gay point of view.


I've tried cases before one judge who unfairly favors women, even in custody cases where it's clear that the mother's incapable of caring for a child.


Part of the advantage of a firm like ours is the breadth of knowledge of the judge in a particular case and knowing how he or she might receive our client's facts.


In all cases, we're looking at possible grounds for appeal, and we're making sure we take the steps necessary to go that route should we need to. If it's clear to use that the judge isn't going to see the case our way, and we're stuck with that judge for the case, we reassure our clients that there's another round to the fight and that we're preparing for it.


That's not to say, of course, that all the judges in and around San Antonio require caution and scrutiny and a game plan for going into the appeals process. Many judges are genuinely concerned with the welfare of children in divorce and custody cases, and are ultimately looking for what we're looking for: creating fair solutions based on the facts of the case. Just like the rest of us, they are also human--and are not necessarily even aware of their own leanings.

For those judges who don't know the law? We know who they are and know how to navigate those cases accordingly. And if it's a new judge? Well, since this isn't our first rodeo, we apply what we've learned in prior cases and put that experience to work.

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