Considerations For Child Testimony In A Divorce Case
As a parent, the last thing you want to do is bring any additional pain to your children when you get a divorce. In some cases, children may be called to provide testimony during a divorce for different reasons. Depending on the nature of your divorce case, your children may be able to provide important insight when it comes to issues that impact them directly. If you think your children will need to testify during your divorce case, keep the following in mind.
Does Your Child Need an Attorney?
In some cases, children can provide a certain perspective that you or your spouse may not. For that reason, you may be asked to have your child speak on a variety of issues. Although your child does not need to have his or her own attorney to represent them legally, it is often beneficial to retain a mutually agreed-upon attorney to speak for your children if you do not want them directly involved in the process in court. This is particularly beneficial for young children who may be scared or unwilling to speak in front of a large group of people.
The attorney will simply act as a mediator or "middleman" for your child. The attorney will gather the questions for them to answer, then relay their answers to the court. Keep in mind that you do not necessarily need to hire an attorney. You can opt to use a mediator or some type of liaison to do this job. However, an attorney will ensure there are no misunderstandings or potential legal mistakes made during the testimony.
What If Your Child Has to Testify in Court?
In some states, children of a certain age must provide testimony directly to the judge. The questions may range from where the child wishes to live after the divorce, behaviors or patterns of abuse from either parent, their experiences in the home, and so on. If your child is willing to provide this testimony, be certain the testimony and speaking about certain issues will not be emotionally harmful to them.
The location of the testimony will vary based on the situation and the preference of the judge. The judge may have your child provide his or her testimony in chambers rather than in the courtroom to help decrease the number of people in the room and to protect the child's privacy. Most judges will also advise attorneys to not be forceful or loud with their questioning of children.
To learn more, contact a divorce lawyer.