When parents go through a child custody case in North Carolina, their child’s opinion doesn’t necessarily hold a lot of weight. However, the judge might invite the child to testify if they think the child could add valuable insight to the case.
When could a child testify in a custody hearing?
If one parent accuses the other of abuse during the child custody case, the judge might ask the child to testify. However, it might be hard for them to determine if the child is telling the truth. The judge might not give their testimony much weight if they suspect that the child is lying or influenced by one of their parents.
The judge might ask the child for their opinion if they’re old enough to speak for themselves. A young child might not know what’s best for them, but a teenager might have strong opinions about where they want to live. The judge won’t automatically grant custody according to the child’s preferences, but they might take their thoughts into consideration.
Your family law attorney might suggest asking your child to testify in court. However, it’s important to let your child speak for themselves and not try to influence their opinion in any way. Your former spouse might use it against you if they suspect that you’ve told your child to act in a certain way.
Does your child have to testify so you can win the case?
The judge might ask your child to testify, but you don’t necessarily need it to win your case. Your attorney might suggest other ways you could win full or shared custody of your child. Ultimately, you’ll have to make a good first impression and emphasize your skills as a parent.