children testify divorce

Can Children Testify in Divorce Proceedings?


For most parents, getting a divorce can most definitely be difficult. If you have children, it’s hard for them to have to go through this. If not handled well, this might just have a negative impact on them. While you want to minimize the impact, what if they need to testify? But wait, can they?

Children Testifying

As much as it might be difficult to imagine, it is possible for children to testify during divorce proceedings. Usually, children are only asked to testify when it comes to matters of custody. For any other matters regarding the divorce, children are usually left out. When children are asked to testify, the court does not really take into consideration the child’s age. What the court puts more emphasis on would be whether they are competent enough to testify. That means that the child basically has to be mentally mature enough to understand what is going on and also be able to contribute something that may be of relevance to the proceedings. Of course, the court still has to make sure that children not yet in their teen years are questioned carefully to avoid biasing them or causing a mistrial.

How They Testify

If the child needs to testify before a court during their parents’ divorce proceedings, they may or may not have to testify in front of the court. Instead, the child may just end up talking to the judge handling the proceedings. This way, the child is put in a more comfortable environment. The judge and the child can then just talk. The amount of consideration the judge gives to the child’s testimony also depends on the age of the child and how mentally mature they are. Though the child cannot completely dictate who they want to live with, the judge will take their testimony into consideration. Especially if the child is older, such as in their teens. What’s most important here is that the judge will keep the child’s best interests in mind.

As much as you wouldn’t ever want your child to choose between their parents, sometimes they really need to testify to help sort out matters such as that of custody. It puts them in such a difficult position, after all. But no matter how young they are, they also have a say because it’s their family too. What your child thinks matters just as much.

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Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas.

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