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If Our Custody Dispute Goes to Court, Will My Child Need to Testify?

Posted on in Divorce

IL divorce lawyerIn a high conflict divorce, it is common for spouses to disagree about who should have parental responsibilities and parenting time. Where the child should live, who the child spends certain holidays with, and who has the right to make important decisions for the child are all issues about which parents commonly disagree.

Unfortunately, children often get caught in the crosshairs of parental hostilities. Although parents may feel entirely justified in their reasoning for wanting custody of the child, the child’s best interests are often neglected in light of the parents’ disagreements. 

What if Co-Creating a Parenting Plan is Impossible? 

One consequence of this is that spouses may struggle to compromise on a parenting plan. A parenting plan is an agreement that addresses who has decision-making authority (“parental responsibilities”) and who gets to spend time with the child (“parenting time”). Ideally, parents will be able to create a parenting plan on their own through communication and compromise, but when they fail to do so and mediation has also failed, their case will go to court. 

How are Child Custody Disputes Resolved? 

Once a custody case goes to court, a judge will listen to testimony from both parents and make a legally binding decision about the unresolved issues. Illinois courts prioritize the child’s best interests and will consider the wishes and circumstances of the parents, the wishes of the child (if age appropriate), and any recommendations made by a child representative such as a custody evaluator or a Guardian ad Litem. 

Will My Child Have to Testify in Court? 

During a custody dispute, children are almost never asked to stand as a witness and testify in court. Doing so could be traumatic to a child, especially when their parents are present. Children may be concerned with protecting or not disappointing their parents, making it hard to obtain truthful testimony in the parents’ presence. A judge who wants to hear a child’s opinion will usually talk to the child in private. Although a child’s testimony will never be the only factor considered in a custody dispute, it can often have a substantial impact on the judge’s decision. 

Contact a Cook County Divorce Attorney

If you are concerned about the implications that testifying in court may have for your child, consider speaking with an Oak Brook divorce attorney with the law firm of Botti Marinaccio, LTD. Our team has experience handling high conflict divorces with skill and compassion, and we strive to minimize the negative impact divorce can have on you and your loved ones. Call us for a consultation at 630-575-8585 and let us show you what our outstanding client service can do for you.  






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2015 Spring Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523

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