While it doesn’t happen often, it does happen that children sometimes testify in divorce proceedings. As parents, we want what is best for our children. Testifying can be a scary thing. Talking to your child about the process can help. Family law attorney Aliette H. Carolan understands divorce is never easy for children. Below are some general tools to help your children know what to expect. (Of course, every case is different. If there is a court order prohibiting the conduct or conversations discussed below, obviously the court order takes precedence and should be followed.)
Consider Taking a Tour of the Courthouse
If your child will testify in court, you may consider taking them to the courthouse ahead of time. Courthouses are open to the public during regular working hours. Sometimes just seeing the building, along with entering a courtroom can help ease a child’s fears about the unknown.
Talk to Your Child About the Court Process
You can let your child know they will be asked questions. Remind your child to listen to the entire question before answering. This ensures they provide the information the lawyers or judge is looking for. Tell your child it is okay for them to let the lawyers and judge know if they don’t understand a question. Finally, make sure your child knows they will have to speak, rather than just nod or shake their head. If you take them to the courthouse, you can point out the court reporter. Let your child know the court reporter’s job is to take down everything that is said, so they must speak slowly and clearly.
Impress Upon Them the Importance of Telling the Truth
Make sure your child knows the only thing you expect is that they tell the truth. Do not tell them your version of the truth. Do not tell them what you expect them to say. Do not speak ill of their other parent. Instead, only convey to them your expectation they be truthful in their testimony.
If you do tell them what you want them to say, you can expect this will be discovered by the court or the lawyers, even if you tell your child to keep it a secret. You are not served by attempting to taint a witness, even if you think it is for your benefit.
If you are considering divorce, contact the Carolan Family Law Firm, P.A. The family law attorneys at the Carolan Family Law Firm, P.A. have the experience you need to protect your rights, ensure a fair and equitable division of property, and handle your case as appropriate. While many cases settle, through the collaborative law process, mediation, or negotiation between the attorneys, some cases don’t. When a case cannot be resolved, our attorneys are prepared to go into court and fight the battles necessary. Contact us today to discuss your case at (305) 358-2330.