Involving Your Child in Mediation and Litigation

Child custody is often one of the most disputed areas in family law.  Both parents likely have a very particular idea of what is best for the children, and these ideas will sometimes not align.  Parents work hard to bring as much evidence as possible to court in order to support their respective positions to the court.  This evidence will take many forms, including eye witness testimony, documents, audio recordings, and electronic records.  In some situations, the most direct evidence of parenting skills of either parent may be the testimony of the children.  There are essential issues you should take into account before deciding to involve your child in the litigation or mediation of your divorce or custody case.

child custody

One of the most essential things to consider is the age of your child.  While your young child may have been witness to important events, such as substance abuse or domestic violence, young children are often unreliable historians.  In other words, your four-year-old child may not be able to accurately recount the details of an event.  Moreover, testifying against one of the parents is emotionally difficult for a child of any age.  The younger the child, the more difficult is likely to be, as it will be challenging for a young child to understand why he or she has to testify.

Another important thing to consider is the preference of your child.  Not all children will want to provide testimony against the other parent, which is completely understandable.  Forcing your child to testify or talk to a mediator when the child is not willing to do so will not only be tough on your child, but like any unwilling witness, the child’s testimony may not end up being favorable for you.

Finally, you need to consider the impact on the relationship between your child and the other parent, as well as the court’s view of how you are considering this issue.  One of the most important factors under best interest is whether the parents are encouraging a close bond between the child and the other parent.  Forcing a child to testify against the other parent may show the judge that you are not willing to encourage this relationship, and ultimately could undermine your request for custody

We have extensive experience helping our clients in all stages of probate.  Call us today at 651-371-9117 and schedule a consultation.