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Should You Let Your Child Testify in Your Custody Case?

In many cases, child custody issues during a Pasadena divorce are amicably resolved with little disagreement. However, if you and your spouse are having difficulty determining who should get custody of the children, you might be wondering if it would be a good idea to have your child testify.

Judges make custody recommendations based on the best interest of the child, which means that children are not allowed to simply pick whom they wish to live with. That being said, a child's preference can often factor into the decision making process.

California law allows a child who is 14 years or older to testify in a custody proceeding. However, children under 14 can be allowed to testify if they are considered to be of sufficient maturity.

Even if your child is legally allowed to testify, this is a decision you should consider carefully. Think about the benefit gained from the testimony versus the long-term effect on your child. Even children who seem to be adjusting relatively well to the divorce may feel distressed if they believe testifying is equivalent to forcing them to pick sides in a parental battle. As a parent, your goal should be to minimize the conflict your child is exposed to and do everything in your power to help him or her maintain a positive relationship with both parents.

If you've determined that your child is emotionally able to handle the task of testifying, consider asking your attorney if it would be possible to give testimony via an on camera examination. This alternative to testifying in court is often considered less stressful for children.

If your child is not allowed to testify, or if you feel your child isn't emotionally up to the task, a mediator, investigator, or child psychologist can testify as to your child's preference in regards to custody and/or visitation arrangements.

How Can We Help?

Please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at info@PasadenaLawOffice.com if you are a parent who has concerns about child custody, visitation, and/or child support arrangements. Our team of skilled Pasadena divorce lawyers are eager to advocate for the interests of both you and your child within the state's family court system.

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