Interviews of Interest: Testimony in Child Welfare Cases

Interviews of Interest: Testimony in Child Welfare CasesWhose Word Matters?

The court may consider oral testimony at any stage in child welfare proceedings when material facts are in dispute or when the available evidence is not sufficient to make a finding based on a preponderance of the evidence. Testimony is a statement made under oath by a competent witness at a trial, at a deposition or in an affidavit. Testimony differs from hearsay, which is a statement made outside of court and not under oath.

Testimony can be taken from the parents of the child, relatives of the child, caregivers, teachers, physicians, psychologists and other expert witnesses or any witness who is competent and has information relevant to the case. The court may also interview the child at its discretion. Typically, testimony from children is taken in the judge’s chambers so as to minimize the stress on the child.

Testimony From Experts

The court can rely on testimony to supplement the material evidence. In some cases, the judge or the child’s attorney (the law guardian) will ask the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P) to take testimony from an expert witness. For example, the DCP&P may be called on to get testimony from a mental health professional who can attest to the harmful effects of parental alienation or from a physician who has seen and treated the child for injuries.

Testimony can be taken from both sides. Thus, you should have an experienced attorney help you strategize your defense so you can present testimony that will support your claim and potentially challenge testimony submitted by the DCP&P.

If you are in child welfare proceedings and have questions about testimony in your case, you should speak with an experienced New Jersey child welfare attorney. Navigating the complicated process of child welfare litigation on your own can be confusing and overwhelming. And, with so much at stake, it is normal to want to understand every part of your case and how it pertains to your rights. An attorney can evaluate the facts and circumstances of your case and provide you with specific legal advice.

Child welfare litigation can be complicated, but the knowledgeable attorneys at the Williams Law Group, LLC have the experience needed to defend your rights as a parent and protect your child’s best interests. Located in Union, New Jersey, Williams Law Group, LLC provides compassionate and dedicated legal services to Union, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties, and the surrounding areas. Our knowledgeable attorneys handle divorce and family law, child custody, and child abuse/neglect cases. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at info@awilliamslawgroup.com, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation and ultimately get you connected with an experienced New Jersey divorce and child custody attorney.

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