Private Judicial Services


Private Judging

Most family law matters should not be litigated, but when they must, it is frequently optimal that they not be litigated in the public court system but, rather, in front of a private judge who is jointly appointed by the parties, usually in collaboration with their attorneys.  One major advantage of taking the matter out of the often chaotic  public court system is that the proceedings can be scheduled according to the needs of the clients and attorneys at the discrete offices of the lawyers or the private judge. This allows the case to proceed more comfortably, efficiently and privately.  Additionally, although the matter technically is a matter of public record, a case tried before a private judge is far less likely to draw public attention than a case tried at the public courthouse.The confidential nature of a private judge process can be especially important for celebrities, corporate executives and other high profile individuals whose personal affairs may be of interest to large segments of the public.

As a Private Judge, David Sutton is available to other attorneys and their clients to provide an efficient, cost-effective, and family-centered approach to dissolving marriages and resolving other family law issues. Judgments rendered by a private judge have the same force and effect as judgments in public court trials. 


Arbitration is an alternative means of settling a dispute by using an impartial professional who is empowered to issue a binding decision, without proceeding to a court trial. It is sometimes preferred as a means of settling a matter in order to avoid the expense, delay, and acrimony of litigation. The arbitrator is selected directly by the parties. Unlike in a mediation, when parties submit to arbitration they agree to be bound by and comply with the arbitrator's decision. The arbitrator’s decision is given after an informal proceeding where each side presents evidence and, on occasion, witnesses.

Collaborative Law

“Collaborative law” is a voluntary dispute resolution process designed for disputing parties who desire to participate in a collaborative face-to-face negotiation, so as to avoid court, but who also want more direct involvement of their consulting attorneys. In a collaborative law negotiation, each party’s own attorney attends the negotiation, along with the parties, and the two lawyers and two clients negotiate a mutually acceptable settlement that is facilitated in a non-adversarial and cooperative setting. Occasionally, additional neutral experts are invited to assist in the process, such as tax or financial analysts.