The loud clock on the courtroom wall said, “8:55 a.m.,” which was five minutes before the custody trial was set to begin. Judge Claven had not yet taken the bench. His law clerk picked up the telephone and said, “We’re ready.” He listened for a second and then announced, “The judge wants to see counsel in chambers.”
The clerk led the lawyers to the judge’s office behind the courtroom. “This case ought to be settled,” the judge said. “What’s the problem?”
“Your Honor, we are very close.” said Michael Sloan, the father’s lawyer.
“How close?” asked the judge, raising his bushy white eyebrows.
“We only differ on where the child spends one day out of the whole year, Judge.” said Julie Bomgarten, the mother’s attorney.
“Oh, for ...