Child custody is often one of the hardest elements of a divorce. When parents disagree about custody arrangements, one parent may want the child to testify at the divorce trial. That person generally wants the child to say that they would rather live with that parent over the other. Once a child is past the age of 12 or so, a judge may permit them to testify in court about their preferences. However, unless you believe your former spouse may actually endanger the child, it is usually best to avoid having your child become a witness at the trial.
If you do think your spouse is a danger, the child can testify as to the nature of that parent’s behavior, such as drinking or using drugs while the child is around, or leaving the child unsupervised for long periods.
Best Interests of the Child
Keep in mind that child custody always focuses on what is in the best interest of the child. A skilled family law judge will recognize when a child is either manipulated by one parent or prefers to live with the parent who is not as strict. The child may also clarify differences between the parents. One parent may say that childcare responsibilities are shared relatively equally, while the other parent alleges they do 90 percent of childcare. A child can explain which parent generally does what, such as taking them to school or other activities, going to doctor’s appointments, and whether they spend more time with one parent than the other. The child can also note a parent’s usual presence or absence in their lives.
Best Interest Attorney
Rather than have a child testify, the court may appoint a best interest attorney to represent the child, investigate the home situation, and advocate on the child’s behalf. The attorney may take the child’s opinions concerning custody into account or may advocate solely based on what they believe is in the best interest of the child.
Parents usually want to keep their children out of any other aspects of the divorce, but there are times when a child’s testimony can prove the parent’s point. For example, if one spouse is harassing the other or is not paying child support, a child may describe the situation or explain how the lack of funds affects their life. Parents should consider having a child testify under such circumstances only when a situation is severe, and the actions of the other parent harms the child.
Towson Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Help Clients with Custody Issues
Going through a divorce is always difficult, and even more so when you have minor children. If you are planning a divorce and are having custody issues, you need the services of an experienced Towson divorce lawyer at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC. Call us at 443-589-0150 or contact us online for a free consultation.
Located in Hunt Valley and Towson, Maryland, we serve clients throughout Baltimore, Baltimore County, Bel Air, Bentley Springs, Columbia, Freeland, Hereford, Hampton, Westminster, Essex, Monkton, Sparks Glencoe, Parkton, Phoenix, Pikesville, White Hall, Carroll County, Harford County, and Howard County.