Family law cases take an emotional toll on those involved. For parents, the concern that their children may become involved is not without merit, but is it possible for a child to testify or be interviewed during a custody trial? Keep reading to learn more.
Why Children Testify
The court evaluates multiple factors to determine timesharing and parental responsibility. The Court evaluates what is in the best interest of the child(ren). This is not a single factor analysis but several factors that the Court evaluates, and this evaluation cannot be overstated.
When a child testifies they are a witness in the case and sometimes their testimony is given in camera to protect the child. Depending on the issues and the age of the child, they may be able to give testimony on their living preference, relationship with their respective parents and other issues that they have witnessed.
Florida family courts limit child involvement during proceedings. Unlike an adult witness, a court order must be issued to allow the child to testify.
This means that the court must determine whether the child’s testimony would be valuable to the case.
As mentioned previously, the judge may question a a child about their preference regarding custody. However, this is not an option for children who do not meet certain metrics. For example, an infant cannot give testimony so the judge will not require them to produce a testimony or offer their preference.
When considering whether a child’s preference is admissible, the court evaluates the following factors.
- Whether the child understands their decision
- Whether the child is capable of a meaningful decision
- Whether the child is mature enough to express a preference
Ultimately, whether a child offers their preference is a decision that lies with the judge. If they see merit in a child’s testimony, allowances can be made to acquire it.
A Personal Approach
The Law Office of Paulette Hamilton, P.A. believes in a personal approach to legal counsel. We understand that no two family law cases are the same which is why we offer legal strategies custom fit to our client’s specific needs. You deserve legal representation backed by experience and compassion and or attorneys are here to help.
Contact The Law Office of Paulette Hamilton, P.A. to find out how we can advocate for you.