Mothers are coming forward saying a divorce judge is bullying people from the bench. They are accusing her of ripping families apart, failing to enforce child support orders and leaving children as collateral damage. What do you do?

A video was recently released in Las Vegas showing a tear-stricken 12-year-old girl who’d been home-schooled in her mother’s ballet studio for three years since her parents divorce. Pleading to stay with her mom, but being ripped from the home and the life she’d known.

In court, Judge Hughes said the child’s mother was alienating her from her father. But even he was not happy about the way the judge handled things, according to a comment he posted on social media.

No one from Family Court would comment on the judge’s behavior. A spokesperson sent a statement saying custody cases can be highly contentious and everyone has a right to appeal.

I’ve written about judges getting in trouble before. The legal profession provides fertile ground for bullying. It’s a fast-paced profession; it’s adversarial in nature; litigation brings a winner and loser; and even alternative dispute resolution, whose conduct is designed for compromise, can find counsel and parties jockeying for position.

The goal of bullying is to devalue and dehumanize the target or the other person. The consequences of being bullied include depression, demoralization, anxiety, absence, loss of productivity and even post-traumatic stress.

Bullies have power when they get people derailed from their professional task-focused relationship. Don’t get reactive and allow yourself to be knocked off that course is going to lead to bad results more often than not.

Some ways to cope:

* Recognize you are being bullied

* Don’t take it personally

* Maintain a realistic sense of your own worth

* Know the rules and recourse options

Judicial bullying can occur due to a judge’s personal insecurity, lack of an understanding as to the proper role of a judge and a reluctance to do the job.

Examples include:

* Undue pressure to settle or compromise

* Belittling attorneys on and off the record

* Revealing bias on and off the record

* Placing unreasonable demands on attorneys’ time, such as rocket docket, no continuances, no extensions

* Holding attorneys accountable for events beyond their control

The Las Vegas news article is here.

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