Can an attorney force my child to testify in divorce proceedings?

Blog, Family Law

Anyone can be required to appear before a court, but not everyone can be compelled to testify. Minors so young that they cannot understand the oath or answer questions may not be put on the stand.

Even if your child is sophisticated enough to give testimony, forcing him or her to testify isn’t necessarily wise. Taking the stand can be traumatic for children, and courts generally frown on legal teams who subject children to intense examination or cross examination.

If you cannot present your child’s perspective to the court without consulting the child, you or your attorney may file a motion requesting that the judge speak to your child in his chambers. In a custody dispute, the judge is required to meet privately with children 12 years old or older; he may meet with children under the age of 12.

Other judges may opt to have your child speak to a social worker or therapist, which usually involves a more relaxed experience.