Can Children Testify In Florida Divorce Cases?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

The answer to that question is, it depends.  It depends upon the age of the children;  it depends upon the nature of the judge;  it depends upon what is at issue in the case. 

Normally, judges do not like to put minors in the position of favoring one parent over another, or choosing which parent they want to live with most of the time.  Public policy and Florida Family Laws dictate that children have a strong bond with both parents.   However, in cases where there are older children, say 16 years or older, or where there are allegations of an unfit parent, or child abuse, the divorce court judge may want to dig a little deeper by speaking directly to the minors in chambers.   

Getting a minor child to present to a judge is done upon motion by one of the parents through his/her attorney.  Most often it will be contested by the other party.  The judge will evaluate the reasons for the child to appear and then make a ruling as to whether or not it would be helpful to the court to speak directly to the minor.   If a child is simply too young, the court can appoint a guardian ad litem or a “friend of the child” like a therapist to come into court to testify on behalf of the child and what would be in the child’s best interests.

For more information about this or other divorce topics, call one of the divorce lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561 835 9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at http://www.familylawwpb.com for more information.

 

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