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  • Writer's pictureSummers Family Law

Family Court Isn't Like Judge Judy: An Attorney's Perspective

Updated: Dec 17, 2023

In my years as a family law attorney, I’ve had clients walk into my office with expectations shaped by what they’ve seen on TV. From dramatic courtroom confrontations to last-minute revelations that change everything, Hollywood’s depiction of the family court system is, more often than not, a far cry from reality. Today, I want to set the record straight and explain what family court is really like.

Myth #1: High Drama and Fiery Showdowns

Contrary to what you might see on TV, most family court proceedings are orderly and professional. There are rules and protocols to follow, and judges maintain decorum in their courtrooms. While emotions may run high due to the personal nature of the cases, shouting matches and fiery showdowns are rare.

Myth #2: Last-Minute Surprises

On TV, it seems like there's always a surprise witness or a shocking piece of evidence that emerges at the eleventh hour. In reality, both parties have extensive knowledge of each other's case long before they step into the courtroom. Discovery processes, mandatory disclosures, and pre-trial hearings ensure there are no surprises.

Myth #3: Quick and Dramatic Resolutions

Television often portrays court cases that start and conclude within a single episode. In reality, family court matters, whether they involve divorce, child custody, or spousal support, can take months or even years to resolve.

Myth #4: Judges Making Rash Decisions

On TV, judges might seem to make huge decisions on a whim, but in real life, judges in family court are bound by laws and regulations. They consider a myriad of factors and often rely on extensive evidence and testimonies before making a decision that is in the best interest of the parties involved, particularly the children.

Myth #5: Everyone Ends Up in Court

Contrary to popular belief, not all family law disputes end up in a courtroom. Many cases are resolved through negotiations, mediation, or collaborative law processes long before a trial is necessary. As a family law attorney, a significant part of my work involves helping clients resolve issues amicably and efficiently, without ever stepping foot in a courtroom.


The world of family law is nuanced and complex, and each case is unique. While TV shows and movies can be entertaining, they are not a reliable source of information for what to expect in family court. As a family law attorney, my role is to guide my clients through this process with knowledge, compassion, and practical advice, not to engage in theatrical courtroom drama. If you find yourself in need of a family law attorney, it’s important to seek someone experienced and professional, who understands the real-life implications of these issues and can advocate for your best interests, without the Hollywood theatrics.

Disclaimer: The content provided in this blog is for informational and educational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice and readers should not act upon any information provided without seeking professional legal counsel. The author does not guarantee the completeness or accuracy of the information provided. This blog is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the reader.

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