Westchester’s matrimonial courts undergo shakeup

A review prompted by complaints of unfair handling of divorce cases has led to a shake-up of Westchester's matrimonial courts. All of the matrimonial judges in Westchester County have been replaced.   Though I have no knowledge of the merits of the charges, I am concerned that wholesale change is akin to “throwing the baby out with the bath water.”

Any charge of impropriety in the judiciary must be promptly investigated and openly addressed.   The judicial system must be protected in order to assure that all litigants are treated fairly.

The only problem is that by rotating all of the matrimonial judges in Westchester at once, there are no experienced matrimonial judges in the county. Like the attorneys who appear in the matrimonial parts, the judges have become specialized in family law practice. They gain insights and particular skill sets from experience.

While judges, for various reasons, leave the matrimonial parts, I am concerned that while the new judges “get up to speed,” divorce practice may temporarily slow during this brief learning process. Litigants’ days of judgment could be delayed.

That said, if faith in the impartiality of judiciary is restored, this minor “speed bump” will be a small price to pay.

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