child testify child custody trial

“Will my child testify in my child custody trial?” This is a question that we sometimes get. People have many concerns when they are starting an action for child custody, and rightfully so.  To a parent, their child is the most important thing in their life and they want to protect them.  Unfortunately, however, child custody actions are stressful for everyone involved, especially the children.

Many parents have concerns over how much their children will be involved, and we are often asked about whether or not the child has to testify. In this blog, we will discuss that.  Like all of our blogs, this is intended for informational purposes only and not intended as a substitute for the advice and counsel of a family law attorney.

Child Custody cases, in general

When an action for custody is filed, at least one of the parents is seeking physical and legal custody of the child or children in question.  There are a wide variety of ways these cases tend to unfold, including but not limited to:

  • Sometimes the other parent (the defendant) doesn’t wish to have any custody at all and simply agrees to whatever the plaintiff requests, or they don’t answer the complaint at all and allow the case to proceed without them
  • Sometimes the two parents are able to reach an agreement during the period of mandatory mediation
  • Sometimes the parents are able to reach an agreement amicably through a consent order after the mediation period is over but prior to having to go to trial
  • Sometimes the parents simply cannot agree on a custody arrangement and the case has to go before a judge in a trial

Child Custody trials

Child custody trials allow for both parties to make their case by calling witnesses (including themselves and each other) and asking questions. This is meant to paint a picture and tell a story about what would be in the best interest of the child.

Will my child testify?

Typically, judges in North Carolina prefer the children not to be involved in the trial, even though they are the subject of said trial.  As a matter of fact, not only do judges typically not like children to testify but they typically do not want them in the courtroom during the trial.

What if I want my child to testify?

If you truly want a judge to hear your child’s point of view, you can request that he or she speak to the judge in chambers.  When this occurs, it is usually with just the judge and the child, parents are not allowed to interfere.  This is up to the judge and it is not guaranteed, but this way, the child can be heard without being subjected to the actual trial process.

If you need an attorney for a child custody matter, contact us. We handle child custody and other family law matters in Charlotte, NC and the surrounding areas.

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