JUDGE SONDRA MILLER
NOBODY WINS IN A LITIGATED DIVORCE
The vast majority of divorcing couples who choose litigation do so due to the misconception that the courts will protect them. The fact is, 97% of divorce cases in New York settle before they go to trial, and the judge is in no position to protect the 3% that do. The Honorable Sondra Miller spent 21 years in the court system, and she contends that divorcing couples are much better served by alternative dispute resolution processes such as mediation and collaborative divorce.
Judge Miller received her law degree from Harvard University in 1953. She was a Westchester County Family Court Judge for three years before her election to the New York Supreme Court in 1986. Judge Miller was appointed by Governor Mario Cuomo as a Justice for the Appellate Division in 1990 and commissioned by Chief Justice Judith Kaye to conduct hearings on the state of matrimonial law in New York in 2006. The resulting Miller Commission report prompted the passage of no-fault divorce the state.
Today, Judge Miller joins Katherine to discuss the limitations around what a judge can do to protect divorcing families, the substantial cost of resolving conflict through the court system, and the rare circumstances under which court is the most appropriate process. She explains the myriad of benefits associated with choosing a more humane alternative like mediation or collaborative divorce, outlining the fundamentals of each model and the other professionals that may be called upon to assist in the process. Listen in to understand why no one wins in a litigated divorce and learn how families are better served by alternative dispute resolution processes.
The importance of informed voting in local elections for judges
How to get familiar with the qualifications of state supreme court candidates
The limitations around what a judge can do to protect divorcing families
Why Judge Miller suggests collaboration or mediation as a humane alternative
Why the attorneys involved in the collaborative process are motivated to settle
How mediators guide divorcing couples through financial and custody issues
Other professionals who may be involved in alternative dispute resolution
- Financial, mental health professionals
Judge Miller’s insight on the misconception that the court will protect you
The substantial cost of resolving conflict through the court system
The rare circumstances under which court is the most appropriate process
The expense/time it takes to appeal a custody determination that doesn’t work
How judges make decisions about issues of custody and visitation
The role of the forensic in reporting the emotional state of the parties involved
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Miller Law Group
The New Yorker’s Guide to Collaborative Divorce by Katherine Miller