Will My Child Be Interviewed in a Custody Case?

In the Best Interests of the Child

Making a decision on custody that is in the best interests of the child isn’t easy to do. Judges must consider several factors when making such a decision, including the parents’ preferences for custody and, in some cases, the child’s. Under certain circumstances, a judge may request an interview with the child. These interviews are typically held in the judge’s chambers, though they are recorded. The judge’s decision to interview a child must be in the child’s best interests, however, and no interview will be conducted if it were to be detrimental to the child.

When an Interview Is Helpful

When two parents cannot agree on matters such as physical and legal custody or visitation rights, a judge may invite each party to present his or her argument to the court. But these arguments are only coming from interested parties. A third party to the situation is sometimes needed when the parents’ arguments are contradictory. In some cases, the child in the custody action can be asked questions about his or her home environment and parent or care taker experiences. If the child is mature enough to know fact from fiction and the questions are appropriate, the child can provide crucial information that could help the judge make a sound and informed decision on custody. There is a risk, however, of either parent manipulating the child to say certain things to sway the case.

The judge can only conduct an interview with a child if it is appropriate to do so. Being interviewed by a judge may frighten a child or cause them to withdraw. Judges can be intimidating to both adults and children. And interviewing a child who is not mature or cognitively aware enough to provide thoughtful answers may not help the judge make the best decision for the child. If a child is judged able to be interviewed, both parents usually are barred from speaking with the child about the interview unless they have permission. The opposing parties’ attorneys can submit certain questions for the judge to ask. The judge will decide what he or she will use. The parents will be provided with a transcript of the interview but cannot share or discuss it with the child or anyone else without court permission.

Speak with an experienced New Jersey child custody attorney if you have questions about a contested custody case. The judge has a very important decision to make, and an attorney can help make sure the judge has all the pertinent information needed to make a decision that is truly in the best interests of your child. This can include requesting the judge to interview the child or submitting select questions for the judge for use.

 

If you are involved in a New Jersey child custody case, Williams Law Group, LLC is here to help you obtain a custody award that is in your favor. 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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