Why Family Law Courts Have No Jury

You may notice that when couples decide to end their marriage in New York, there are judges, but no juries. People often take it for granted that this is the case, but why? Why do family law courts have no juries?

Why Do Family Law Courts Have No Jury?

There are currently only two states in the country which feature juries in divorce proceedings: Georgia and Texas. In the remaining 48 states, there will never be a jury for divorce. The reason why states such as New York do not have juries for divorces is that juries are primarily there to determine the ultimate fact of whether a person is guilty or not.

The Facts Are Already Determined

In divorces, on the other hand, this ultimate fact has already been determined. That fact is, it is the end of a marriage and relationship. Since this fact has already been determined, a jury serves no purpose in family law courts. While it would seem logical to have a jury to decide issues commonly dealt with in family court (namely custody, division of assets, and financial support payments), in reality, this would be a dangerous precedent. Because juries consist of members of the public, they do not have the necessary expertise or understanding about critical custodial and financial affairs. And as such, should not be used to determine the business and personal future of a divorcing couple.

family law courts

The Judge Is the Main Authority

In fact, in states with juries for divorce, such as Texas, the scope of the jury’s decisions is minimal. In Texas, for example, juries in divorces may determine the status of the marriage, the value of any property, and the custody arrangements of any children, including who gains custody and where the child will live. All other authority resides with the family court judge, who enforces orders, presides over visitation, adoption, and paternity, and awards or modifies child support payments.

Impaneling Juries Would Be Nearly Impossible

One final reason why a jury isn’t used in divorces is the sheer difficulty in obtaining enough individuals to make up a jury for these proceedings. Merely impaneling juries for civil and criminal cases is stressful enough. Adding additional juries for divorces would place an impossible burden on the courts. With so many other jurors needed, the logistics for housing these many extra people, as well as the costs associated with this process, would bankrupt the courts.  Furthermore, picking jurors would be much more complicated, as issues such as grudges, the marital status of the juror, and other items would make selection painstaking and laborious.

Contact an Experienced Manhattan Divorce Attorney

Deciding to file for divorce is a difficult decision to make. Fortunately, choosing the best attorney doesn’t need to be. If you are looking to end your marriage, contact Brian D. Perskin & Associates today. Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C. is one of the most trusted names in New York when it comes to divorce. Brian and his experienced team work diligently with clients and customize representation strategies to fit their individual needs. Looking for a divorce attorney to fight for your best interests? Call Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C. today at 1 (888) 793-1484 for your free consultation.


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