I’m often asked about conflict of interest; most often when a client is in fear that the other party has an “IN” with the judge. This may be a friend, friend of a friend, or relative of the judge or the judge’s family. In Family Court, the judge is the sole decider of your case. As such, if there is a conflict of interest or inherent bias for or against one party, it should be brought to the attention of the court.
Many times the claimed conflict is nothing more than excitement and fear of the unknowing. Even more often, there is boasting between the parties about how one will easily win in court: whether because they are smarter, their attorney is better or they have a claimed inside track with the judge. While often claimed, it is actually seldom the case. That said, if you know the judge has a conflict, it is appropriate to ask the judge to recuse from hearing your case.
If someone is claiming that their attorney is going to wipe the floor with your attorney, often it is as easy as asking about past experiences. Does your attorney have history with opposing counsel? Does your attorney have history with the judge? This is often boasting without any real basis for the statement.
While there certainly are some circumstances that there is a conflict, it is often easily rectified by simply asking the judge. Most judges do not want to even give an appearance of impropriety. If they are cousins, they will likely recuse (withdraw) without even asking. A judge, who is an elected official, doesn’t want to have a decision overturned (and a likely judicial complaint) by making a determination about a case where one party is a social friend.
If you have a question about whether a judge should be deciding your case, discuss it with your attorney. For a consultation regarding divorce or custody in Northern Kentucky, call Michael Bouldin at 859-581-6453 or email email@example.com.