Is It Ok for My Child to Testify at My Divorce Trial?

If you absolutely need the child to testify, there are ways to get their testimony without them being on the witness stand with all eyes on them, facing both parents and all attorneys and staff.

One of the most delicate and stressful parts of a divorce is not always the division of assets or separating from your spouse but having to decide who gets the custodial rights of minor children. When children are involved, divorces are more impactful, and the judge must act in the minor’s best interest, no matter what.

Going through a divorce puts both parents through unpleasant tasks, such as dividing financial and marital assets or trying to reach a settlement for living arrangements post-divorce. Unfortunately, when it comes to custody, the children are often dragged into it. They have to be evaluated or even to choose between living with their mom or dad.

Can My Child Testify at My Divorce Trial?

If you wonder if your minor child can also be considered a witness in your trial and testify, the answer is yes. If it is ok, it’s another issue. Testifying in a trial is stressful for anyone, as the pressure is quite high. But testifying at your parents’ divorce trial can be traumatic for a minor, which is why you should avoid it at all costs.

If you absolutely need the child to testify, there are ways to get their testimony without them being on the witness stand with all eyes on them, facing both parents and all attorneys and staff. If, for example, there has been mistreatment of the child from one of the parents, and the child’s testimony would help protect them from future aggression, the court can get a report based on the child’s testimony, without putting the minor through the stress of appearing in court.

Usually, the judge appoints a mediator or a child custody evaluator trained to communicate with children and observe their psychological reactions and behaviors. The specialist will put together a report that contains the answers to the problems the court needs to address. This report is confidential and only used during the trial and not kept by either party.

Older Children May Give Their Testimony Directly

If the judge decides that testimony would not intervene in the child’s well-being, and this mostly applies to over 14, they may testify in court. Both your St. Louis divorce attorney and your spouse’s attorney will be able to address questions to the child. The judge will interview your child, but neither you nor your spouse can be present during the testimony.

The custodial outcome of your divorce can be based quite a lot on your child’s testimony, especially if they manifest their preference clearly (after a certain age, it is taken into account.)

St. Louis Family Law Attorney

To make sure your child is safe and their distress is kept to a minimum during your divorce trial, discuss these concerns with your St. Louis divorce attorney and use the best option available to make the trial less traumatic for the little ones.

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