Is a child allowed to testify in divorce court?

On Behalf of | Oct 13, 2021 | Child Custody

You and your spouse didn’t get along at the end of your marriage, and in divorce, you’ve found that they have been even more difficult to work with. Neither of you can agree on custody schedules nor parenting plans. You’ve had a hard time getting your ex to listen to your child’s wishes at all.

You think that the best option is to ask a judge to speak with your child. The Texas Family Code Sec. 153.009(a) distinctly requires a judge to speak with a child who is 12 or older about their wishes. The judge may decide to speak with them based on the wishes of the attorney ad litem for the child, a party’s application or the amicus attorney’s request.

What happens when a child is interviewed over their custody wishes?

During the interview, the judge will hear what the child has to say in their chambers. They’ll determine if there are any issues in the parent-child relationship that they should know about and see what the child’s wishes are.

That doesn’t mean that your child’s wishes are going to determine the outcome of the custody case. In fact, the judge will only consider those wishes when determining what might be in their best interests.

One thing to keep in mind is that a judge cannot interview your child if you are dealing with an issue that will result in a jury verdict.

Is it a good idea to have your child testify?

It could be. For example, if you have asked for primary custody of your child due to concerns about their relationship with the other parent, hearing that your child also has worries about living with the other parent may help persuade the judge. That being said, you don’t want to do anything that would influence your child, because that could be seen negatively by the court. If you appear to be manipulating your child into saying what you want them to say, then you could face backlash.

A child can testify if they’re 12 or older under law. This is something to consider as you work through your case.