Friday, March 23, 2007

When Can a Child Testify On Their Own Behalf In a Divorce Case

Divorce can happen at any given time during a marriage, and often times happens when the parties' children are teenagers. Often times one of the parties wants a child to testify regarding which parent they would want to live with. As a matter of practice, most judges do not allow child testimony because they feel it is not in the best interest of the child to have to testify at their parent's divorce proceeding. However, if you feel strongly that your child should testify here are some important things to know:

1. Having a child testify should always be the last resort.

2. A motion to allow child's testimony must be filed with the Court and the Judge must grant this motion before a child will be allowed to testify.

3. Fl. Stat Section 61.13(3)(i) will take into consideration the reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding, and experience to express preference. This is a broad standard and even a child of 16 may not be allowed to express their preference based on this statute. The child's preference is just one factor of many factors that used to determine who should be award primary residential responsibility of a minor child.

4. Court proceedings can be terrifying to a child, and its important to keep in mind the impact of having to go to Court may have on your child before you request that they be allowed to testify.

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