Sometimes family law is the pits.
You are in the fight of your life against the one person who promised before God and everybody to always love and cherish you. Where’s the love now?
But dragging others into the fight may be the wrong move. I routinely see parents wanting to bring the kids in to testify, while stating that they do not want to bring the kids in to testify. Kind of a sorry-not sorry attitude.
Child testimony is permissible. There are some Gate-keeping obligations of the Court to apply prior to actual testimony being allowed. There are also various methods used by various Judges on taking child testimony. However, more basic than the trustworthiness of the testimomy and whether it should be in chambers or in open Court, is whether the child should be in that position at all.
The Mississippi Supreme Court stated, “We reiterate that parents in a divorce proceeding should if at all possible refrain from calling any of the children of their marriage…as witnesses, and counsel should advise their clients against doing so except in the most exigent cases.” Jethrow v. Jethrow, 571 So. 2d 270, 274 (Miss. 1990).
If there are not exigent circumstances, i.e.; abuse, criminal activity involving the child, physically dangerous activity and there is no other means to corroborate these facts, testimony may be required, but if it’s run of the mill dad did this or didn’t do that, or dad let the girlfriend give her a makeover, or mom’s boyfriend took them to Chik-fil-a, and these persons are not dangerous persons nor prohibited from being around per a Court Order, child testimony should be avoided.
Think about it from the child’s perspective, not your own. Your job is to do what is best for them, every time.
Matthew Thompson is a Child Custody attorney and cautions you on relying on child testimony when it’s not necessary.
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(601) 850-8000 or Matthew@bowtielawyer.ms