A temporary judge. A judge pro tem is not a regular judge, but someone (usually a lawyer) who is brought in to serve temporarily as a judge with the consent of the parties. Many courts use pro tem judges because there are too many cases for the regular judges to handle. Although every party has the right to have his case heard by a real judge, judges pro tem are often practitioners in the field in which they are asked to hear cases and have as much, if not more, knowledge than a real judge. Pro tem judges are used often in family law cases, especially in default divorces.