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I'm wondering if any female readers, while going through the divorce process, thought the judge was biased against her. I've heard of a few cases where women had the perception the divorce judge favored the husband.

In Hong Kong, an appeals court banned a judge from hearing a divorce action because they seriously believed that the Justice would be biased against the wife.

The husband's attorney, writing to the judge, alleged that the wife would have his client killed if he returned to Hong Kong from a London trip.

Justice John Saunders said, "I do not consider that the father's fear of physical injury, is either irrational or a sign of instability." Apparently both the husband, his attorney and the judge took this alleged threat seriously.

Unfortunately this judge put his foot in his mouth when he expressed a biased conventional opinion, that the husband's fear may be "described as being akin to a fear, for personal safety, held by someone married to a person of Italian extraction."

To me this expression was shockingly outlandish and inappropriate for someone who should be fair to both sides. Why would a judge in Hong Kong refer to this Italian stereotype? Maybe he fell under the influence of "The Sopranos."

With courts dominated by male judges, no wonder some women feel they are ripped off in divorce settlements due to male prejudice. I don't think this is necessarily true, but often perception of those going through the system, becomes reality.

I choose not to believe all male judges have a female bias, but what is your experience?

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4 comments

  • Comment Link Teri Lusk Riddle Thursday, 01 October 2015 12:56 posted by Teri Lusk Riddle

    I was married to my ex for 20 years. He changed the locks on my home the day I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Its been two years and I still do not have any of my personal property. My ex controlled all finances and I was a stay at home mom with $100 a week allowance. None of the bank accounts were in my name and it was months before I had any assistance. My ex makes $450,000 a year and the judge awarded me $3000 a month in alimony and I have to pay my husband's attorney fees. This is what the judge said

    "The court finds the parties lived an upper middle class lifestyle. They did not spend lavishly and saved $2000,000 for their daughters' college education and $1 million in savings. The petitioner was a stay at home mom and her testimony regarding her skills and earning ability was varied. She has done nothing to improve her marketability. Her health issues have impacted employment ability but she was vague as to what she needed to gain full time employment. The petitioner is 48 years of age and had some physical and emotional health problems since the date of separation. She testified she thinks her problems are mostly behind her now and has gone four months without any new tumors. The court observed that Petitioner still does not seem to be entirely emotionally stable and certainly appears unwilling to manage her finances and had done nothing to improve her ability to manage money. The petitioner is advised to reduce her dependence on the amount of support paid to her by Respondent due to his age of 62 and desire to retire. Respoondent is the one making contributions to the educational expenses of the children. The court is reducing the support payable to the petitioner due to this factor. Petitioner has been without a car since hers was repossessed. Since June 2013 the petitioner has nothing to show for any of the money she has gone through a bought "lots of things." Petitioners request to have Respondent share in any tax liability is denied. The court finds that the petitioners reasonable needs in keeping with the marital standard of living will be met by the Respondent paying monthly spousal support to her in the amount of $3600. In addition the Respondent will pay petitioner 20% of all bonuses up to $80,000 and shall not apply to bonuses and or stock options or grants over and above $80,000 per annum. Even though there is a breach of fiduciary duty regarding the daughters' education accounts, there is no proven damage resulting therefrom. Even though repsoondent was to provide petitioner with account statements however failed to ever do so, he did provide those records at trial and is awarded the power to ac t alone in managaing those accounts."

    This ruling makes me feel like I am not an American woman in the 21st century.

    My husband locked me out of my home because I was sick. He alienated me from my daughters, cut me off financially without the ability to keep my car. I was homeless going through radiation treatment. The judge refers to me "buying lots of things" because I said If i wanted to go to bed, I had to buy a mattress. If I wanted to shower, I had to buy a towel. I had to buy everything because I have not received one single thing from the family residence since he changed the locks.

    So my ex takes my daughters to Hawaii, gets all the credit for putting them through college, and I get $3600 a month for two years.

    Yes....judges are definately biased.

  • Comment Link Guest Monday, 22 August 2011 16:26 posted by Guest

    ...And it's not just the men: I'm not sure if we are just incredibly unlucky or if this sort of thing is really much more common. My judge was a woman and was EXTREMELY biased against me. I am still in the process of divorce and am currently homeless as a result. My husband was physically and sexually abusive (like you- I had documentation of this as well), but when I finally told him I wanted out, he was manipulative enough to go to the court first. HE went and got a restraining order against ME saying all sorts of proposterous lies and without providing a single shred of evidence to back it up. The lies were quite serious, namely that a doctor had diagnosed me with being "homicidal" and I was shocked that the judge would grant it without even the hint of proof. (I had documentation and declarations from my doctors that not only is this not true, it's outrageous that anyone would claim this.) The most shocking part was that he asked for me to be evicted from my house which I bought with my pre-marital money (he didn't pay a cent) and the judge actually granted it. We were only married for two year and we do not have any kids. Also, he makes $300K, which is almost 4 times what I make. It's ridiculous that the judge thinks he should get to live in a house that I bought! Two weeks later, we had our hearing. Of course, I submitted my medical records, numerous third party declarations, financial records... you name it... a mountain of evidence proving that everything he said was a lie. To my total shock, she threw me out of the house, AGAIN and granted HIM the restraining order against me. What she didn't do was grant me any protection from him, even though I had proof of his violence towards me. I didn't just leave the courtroom crying; I collapsed in the hallway with a seizure from a condition I'd had all my adult life. Now, I just don't know what I can do anymore.

  • Comment Link Guest Thursday, 04 August 2011 09:59 posted by Guest

    Yes, it sometimes happens: Yes, my judge was biased against me.

    I came out of a spiritually and mentally abusive situation. I had documentation of this, and the fact that my X was hiding assets and income, that he had threatened me in many ways, that he had orchestrated the children's alienation, that he had lied about me in public. I had never worked outside the home, but managed a growing real estate business and took care of a large household.

    When we came to came to court the attorneys pressured us to settle before we saw the judge. I just wanted the war to end, and gave him custody and let him buy out the property for 30% less than it was worth. (He was making roughly $250k per year at that time) All I wanted was temporary support to finish college, so that I would be employable. His attorneys (he had TWO) said we would put that to the judge.

    To make a long story short, because none of the evidence of why we were divorcing was presented, the judge actually threatened to have me pay child support, even though I had never worked and had no income. My sister (an attorney in another state) and I left the courtroom in tears. I am still struggling to finish college, and not employed. Since that day about a year and a half ago, he has already made back the entire amount he paid to me in the settlement and has found a new fiance in the Philippines. I won't graduate until 2012, and could only make minimal wages if I worked.

    This sort of thing is rare, but it does happen.

  • Comment Link Guest Thursday, 04 August 2011 09:23 posted by Guest

    You have got to be kidding: You have got to be kidding me? You believe women get the short end of the stick in courts? please. Most times half of what the guy owns goes to the woman regardless if she worked a day or not, not to mention alimony and child custody. This reminds me of a story where a guy in the U.S. could no longer pay child support was placed in prison for 1 year, only to find out the kid was not his, yet still had to pay back what he was unable to.