Can They Make my Kids Testify at my Divorce Trial?

An upward angled picture of lady Justice, holding a golden scale and a golden sword.
Can you imagine how absolutely terrifying it would be for a child to sit in a courtroom, faced by both of their parents, and have to answer questions about their relationship?

In a word – yes. Children are allowed to provide witness testimony at trials, even divorce trials. But the reality is that you should avoid having your child testify at your divorce trial at all costs! Aside from the incredible stress involved for a child who is expected to get up in front of the court and answer questions, there is the issue of putting your child in an untenable position – stuck in the middle of your battle with your soon-to-be-ex!

Kids shouldn’t have to pick sides in a divorce!

If a child is appearing in a courtroom as a witness in your divorce, it means they’re testifying for or against you. Which means they’ve either been pitted against you, or against their other parent, and that’s a terrible position to put a child in. Unless there was child abuse or domestic violence, and the child’s testimony is crucial to yours and their continued safety, they shouldn’t be expected to pick sides. Children love their parents and should be allowed to have relationships with both of them. They should never be used as weapons by one parent against the other!

There are other ways to have kids be involved in the process.

If you or your spouse try to have your kids brought in as witnesses, you’ll probably discover that most Michigan judges aren’t in favor of the practice. So chances are, the Judge will try to find other ways to allow your child to be involved without the direct trauma of providing testimony in court. If your child is considered old enough to have an opinion on which parent they spend more time with, the Judge may assign them an attorney who will speak with them first, and then convey their opinions to the court for consideration. But remember – your child won’t be allowed to make custody decisions for themselves!

If your child does end up testifying during your divorce trial…

There are times when the testimony of a child is needed, and in that case, your attorney will advise you on your best course of action. This doesn’t happen often, and usually only when the child is an older teen who the court has determined is mature enough to have an opinion in their own custody arrangements. In that case, if your child is going to be testifying, your attorney will explain how best to handle the situation, and what your rights are as a parent.

There are many ways for children to share their hopes without testifying.

Each case is handled a little differently, as each case has unique circumstances. If your child has opinions on where they will be placed, a judge may meet with them privately in chambers to discuss how they feel about it. They may have your child meet with an appointed mediator or someone from Friend of The Court who will generate a report for the court on what the child said, and possibly even suggestions on how the court could proceed. There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to kids being directly involved in a divorce trial.

Your best bet is a skilled divorce attorney with a good track record.

Divorce is hard, and when you have kids it’s even harder. But having your kids involved directly with the divorce trial is very risky and requires an experienced attorney to help you with that process. Here at The Kronzek Firm our skilled family lawyers have spent decades helping the people of Michigan with every aspect of their divorces, so we know what you’re up against. Call 866 766 5245 today and get the help you need.