If only all of life had a referee! Can you imagine how amazing it would be to have someone throw a flag if a spouse was acting in a way unbecoming of a spouse at a family gathering or formal occasion? How about someone to make a call if/when your kid tells you that you are the "worst parent ever" and then sends them to a penalty box to think about it with a "5 minute major"? Life in general doesn't come with referees unless you've got that friend or family member that's willing to cuff you up side the head when needed and say "snap out of it...you're better than this", but the courts....they have referees and in Muskegon, according to Attorney Shon Cook, they are the best in the business.
A Court Referee has a job to do. Starting in 1983, judges became able to appoint referees for domestic relations. A referee hearing is similar to a court hearing. The domestic relations referee serves the same role during the referee hearing as a judge would during a court hearing. The domestic relations referee can listen to testimony, review evidence, and then make a recommendation for an order. The referees must submit the recommended order to the judge and the parents. Of course, from there, the process continues with opportunities to object and move things up the ladder if they choose after the recommendation. Some other examples of what a court appointed referee might hear are, child custody, divorce, property settlements, alimony, spousal support, or other maintenance, the establishment of paternity, the establishment or termination of parental rights, child support, visitation, adoption, and emancipation of minors. A lot of contentious things which require highly skilled and amazingly talented attorneys to help people figure out the best outcome for all.
Shon's work as a Family Attorney often involves working with the referees in Muskegon County to help find those resolutions which makes her incredibly valuable when it comes to understanding the process, the outcomes and the scope of what court referees can do in advance of seeing a judge in a court room. Take a listen to what she's got to say in this week's installment of Saturdays With Shon.