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Will My Children Have To Testify In My Divorce Case?

A divorce marks the end of your marriage, but it has little to do with your ability to be the parent your children need. Even if you have shared physical custody of your children, you can develop an extremely strong bond with your kids that could last a lifetime. Great parents are selfless, focusing on their children even when going through something as emotionally complex as divorce. 

When people envision the divorce process, they often think of two parents and their attorneys awaiting a decision from a judge. In reality, many divorce cases do not require a judge to make decisions for the parents. A divorce agreement can be negotiated through attorneys, and there is also mediation to consider. If you are at the beginning of the divorce stage, understand that you and your spouse have an opportunity to communicate respectfully and work closely with your attorneys so that there is no need to go inside a courtroom. That said, there are times when one or both parents refuse to bend or compromise, despite repeated opportunities to do so. On rare occasions, litigation cannot be avoided, which is what we are discussing today. When going through the court is inevitable, will your children have to testify? This is a valid concern because you don’t want to pull them into a situation they are not directly involved in. 

Children & Testifying

Empowered Family Law, P.C., is built on values; one of them is helping you thrive while putting you and your family through the least amount of trauma. We understand how seriously you take this matter, and we want to convey that we do as well. This is not a conclusion we would jump to, nor is it one that we would force on you. 

Sometimes, it is unavoidable. Having your child testify gives the court another level of insight. They can work toward determining what is in their best interest by speaking to them. In many cases, the court can ascertain the child’s thoughts in various ways that don’t require them to go on a witness stand. For example, children can be interviewed by a court-appointed mental health professional who works with children. If the court determines that the child needs to testify, it will likely be done privately with a judge or other court personnel. 

Answering Your Most Common Questions 

Because there is a lot of information out there regarding this issue, we wanted to take a moment to answer some of the most common questions people have about children testifying in court. For instance, is there an age limit? No prescribed age limit prevents a child from testifying. However, the child has to be competent. A judge determines whether the child understands the difference between a truth and a lie. 

Secondly, we will not put a child on the stand to choose which parent they want to live with. Many people have deep-rooted concerns about this possibility, so we hope our previous statement provides you peace of mind in an uncertain time. Alabama does not have a designated age where a child can select one parent over the other. It is also logical to assume the child may choose the more lenient parent. This would likely not be in the best interest of the child. 

Lastly, the court appoints a guardian ad litem (GAL) if custody is disputed. These are generally other attorneys or social workers who will represent the child’s best interests. They will investigate and advocate for the child as well. They may ask about the child’s living situation and needs so they can recommend custody to the court. Should the child be required to testify, the GAL will prepare them for it. 

Feel Empowered

Empowered Family Law, P.C. provides clients with holistic and sustainable representation. Our role is to support and advocate for you during one of the most challenging periods of your life. We act in accordance with what is best for you and your family over the long term. Instead of tearing things down, we want to help you build the foundation you need. To speak with one of our family law attorneys, contact us today to set up your consultation

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Empowered Family Law, PC

With Empowered Family Law, you get an advocate who sees difficulties as opportunities for growth and emphasizes healing and problem-solving no matter how challenging your case.

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