Divorce is a difficult process for everyone involved, but especially for children. Several issues can arise about who should get custody of a child. As a parent, you might ask that your child be allowed to testify to strengthen your case. Finding a good divorce lawyer who will offer the best advice about whether your child should testify is a great place to start. Here are some things that you and your lawyer will need to consider before putting your child on the stand.
Is Their Testimony Necessary?
The first thing you should do is be honest with yourself and your lawyer about why you want your child to testify in your divorce proceedings. Can your child clarify to a judge the circumstances in your home and how the current custody arrangement is affecting them? Is your child mature enough to express their desires clearly and coherently? If the answer is yes to both of these questions, then you and your divorce attorney may want to let your child testify. If, on the other hand, you are looking to humiliate your ex-spouse or want to receive more custody time, then you should think twice before allowing your child to testify. The best lawyer in San Antonio, TX, will tell you not to let your child testify unless there are difficult circumstances where the child would be in danger.
Think about what long-term effects testifying will have on your child. A divorce is traumatizing enough and can get worse if you and your ex-spouse engage in a bitter custody battle. Getting the best family divorce attorney can help you keep the trial as civil as possible. You child may not want to testify because they feel they are being forced to take sides. You also need to consider how testifying will impact your child psychologically. Their testimony will permanently effect your child’s relationship with you and your ex-spouse. The best family divorce lawyer would advise that encouraging your child to have a healthy relationship with you and your ex-spouse is likely in their best interest. You may also want to think about how you would feel if your child testified against you. Always talk to your child and ask tough question to help you decide if testifying is right for them.
Research Child Testimony Laws
Make sure you consult with your divorce attorney to understand how the court will handle child testimony in divorce and custody cases. In Texas, children 12 years and older can testify about where they would prefer to live, though the final decision is up to the presiding judge. The judge can only interview the child in chambers in nonjury trials or hearings, and questions must be geared toward the issue of which parent will get primary custody. Judges are left to decide whether they want to interview children under 12 years old about who they want to live with. Talk to your divorce lawyer and ask about special procedures the court may take while deciding to let your child testify.
If you are interested in finding out more about the role your child can play in your divorce hearing, contact the Law Office of Steven C. Benke online or call us at 210-308-0004.