Do Children Have to Testify in a Divorce Hearing?

divorce processWhen it comes to divorce trials in CA, children are allowed to testify to weigh in with their preference, shed light into a dispute, and more. Having to testify at a trial, however, especially one that pits both parents against one another, can be a stressful or traumatizing situation. In some cases, it might make sense to avoid having your child testify altogether.

In this post, we’re providing a quick explanation of how your child’s testimony is submitted to court, as well as looking at alternatives that can keep your child from testifying unless it is absolutely necessary. 

How Children’s Testimony is Submitted to the Courts

If a judge determines that a child is old enough to testify, he/she can allow the child to take the stand. This is often done when the child wants to have his/her preferences considered in the deliberations. When a child takes the stand in court, he/she might be asked questions from attorneys from either side. 

A child can also be allowed or compelled to provide his/her testimony in privately in chambers. Here, neither parent is allowed to be present, allowing the child to be as candid as possible without feeling pressure from either parent. 

Alternatives to Having your Child Testify in Court

Testifying is not always necessary. A child who wishes to have his/her opinion voiced can have these sentiments relayed via a lawyer. This is a route that is favored when a child is too young to testify, or when a judge determines that testifying is not in a child’s best interests.

There are also other ways in which a child’s input can be gathered. This can include information provided during child custody evaluations from the courts, discussions with court-appointed mediators, and more. Thus, a child doesn’t always have to be subjected to the stress of taking the stand during any family law disputes in CA.

Regardless of whether you decide to have your child take the stand or not, remember that all these matters need to be handled carefully. Remember that we at Rubin & Levavi, P. C. are here to help you with any matters relating to divorce, child custody disputes, and family law in CA. 

Call us at (415) 564-2776 to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our skilled family law attorneys.