Does a Child Have the Right to Testify in a Dallas Divorce?

When divorce cases become heated, especially where custody is concerned, the divorcing parties may ask that their child testify to “prove their case.” If your Dallas divorce is contentious, and if you and your spouse cannot come to any sort of agreement, you may be tempted to ask that your child testify on your behalf. However, at Clark Law Group, we urge you to reconsider. Your divorce is already hard enough on your little ones without putting them in the center of it and asking them to testify against one of their parents. Furthermore, the Texas courts highly frown on this sort of alienation, and having your child testify can actually harm your own case. With that in mind, however, there are instances in which it may be necessary to have your child testify.

When Your Child’s Testimony Might be Necessary

Though it is a rare divorce case in which a child is asked to testify, it does happen. Typically, a child will be asked to testify in order to help the judge understand the circumstances in the home and how they might affect the wellbeing of the child. For instance, if your child is physically, emotionally, or sexually abused by the other parent, but if you do not have any physical evidence of this, you might ask that your child testify in order to prevent further abuse from occurring. Keep in mind, though, that in order for the court to take your child’s word for it, he or she must be mature enough to understand the consequences of his or her actions. Additionally, the court may request that your child speak to a psychologist who will testify for them, instead of making the child get on the stand and relive the abuse in front of a judge and the perpetrator.

Other than in instances of abuse, or in instances in which the child really does not want to live with the other parent for whatever reason, it is typically not necessary for a child to testify against a parent in a divorce hearing.

Consider the Long-Term Consequences

If you do ask that your child testify against his or her other parent, and if the judge allows it, seriously consider the long-term effects it will have on your child. A divorce is traumatizing as is for children, but to ask them to actually engage in the litigation may be adding insult to injury. Consider everything from how it will affect them emotionally to how it will affect their relationship with their other parent, and from how you might feel if your child testified against you to why they even have an interest in testifying. It is not recommended to place a child on the stand until each of these considerations have been given careful thought beforehand. If it still makes sense to have your child testify despite the emotional consequences and impact it might have, then speak with your Dallas divorce attorney regarding how to proceed.

For more information regarding child testimony in a Dallas divorce, refer to the Texas Family Code, Section 153.001.

Consult a Dallas Family Law Attorney

At Clark Law Group, we do not recommend putting a child on the stand. However, some circumstances may necessitate your child’s input. If this is the case in your divorce, our Dallas family law attorneys will do everything possible to prepare your child for testimony and to ensure that it has the least amount of emotional impact on him or her as possible. To consult with a Dallas divorce attorney regarding child testimony, call Clark Law Group at (469) 906-2266 today.

(image courtesy of Kevin Gent)

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