Your Guide Through Challenging Times

How can children participate in custody hearings?

| Sep 12, 2020 | Divorce |

When parents cannot agree on the best interests of the child, it is up to the court to make the decision. What you may question is whether your child has any say in the proceedings. Can children give preference for one parent over another?

According to the California Rules of the Court, child participation can occur but only on a case-by-case basis.

When is it in the child’s best interest to address the court?

Sometimes, children will speak up and ask to address the court. When a child wants to give a testimony, the court has to decide whether it is in the child’s best interests. In cases where the child is over the age of 14, the court has to hear the child’s preference. The only exception is if the court decides it is not in the child’s best interest. Regardless of age, your child must have the capacity to form an intelligent preference. He or she must also understand the gravity of the situation.  If your child has relevant information or subject areas to bring up, he or she may be able to testify.

How can a child give testimony?

The court can decide to take your child’s testimony. In this case, the judicial officer will have to decide whether having you or your ex present during his or her testimony will encourage him or her to be honest. Children may give their testimony in the presence of their parents, in the presence of their parents’ representation in an open or closed courtroom. The court also decides how the court will ask questions. In some cases, attorneys cannot cross-examine your child.