Whether your child can or should testify in your divorce or child custody case depends on several factors. First, the Judge has to make a determination whether your child can testify. In the Jefferson County, Kentucky area, at least one Judge is very hesitant to allow a child to testify even if the child witnessed domestic violence and wants to testify. That Judge’s reasoning seems to be that the child is better off speaking with Child Protective Services. Most other Judges in the Jefferson County, Kentucky area will either allow a child to testify or will interview the child in the Judge’s chambers. Even then, the Judge will permit a child to testify or interview the child only if the Judge believes that it is absolutely essential to the case to do so. In other words, in most cases, the child must have witnessed something relevant to the case and be the only person, other than the parties to the case, who witnessed a particular event or series of events.
Whether or not your child should testify or be interviewed in a case depends on the child’s age and maturity level and how you feel testifying or being interviewed by the Judge about his parents/custodians will affect your child. Judges are always going to be concerned that allowing the child to testify or be interviewed will be detrimental to the child’s well-being. Attorneys representing one party or the other are not permitted to themselves interview a child but many parents have told me that their children want to testify. My personal belief is that if old enough and mature enough, a child should at least be interviewed by the Judge if it means that the Judge will have additional information that will help the Judge make a better, informed decision.