Every parent in Colorado wants to protect his or her children. In the event of divorce, parents might get caught up in all of the negativity about the separation and legal issues and have a tendency to forget the well-being of their children. As a result, the child custody process can become the battleground of each parent trying to win more parenting time and visitation rights with their children. There are also circumstances in which a child is asked to testify in a divorce proceeding.
Child custody determines each parent's rights and responsibilities to their child. However, determining custody and creating a parenting plan is not always an easy task. There are some child custody cases in which a child's testimony may be considered during the legal process. Before letting the child testify in a child custody battle, parents should consider how the experience will affect their child. Letting a child stand before the judge can be a traumatic experience for that child. The parents' separation is already emotionally difficult for most children. A contentious custody battle may add to the trauma. Although a child's testimony may help the court understand the child's feelings, the child may feel that he or she is being forced to choose between the parents. Such a situation may affect the child emotionally and psychologically even for years to come.
Parents should also consider certain other factors. If the situation is difficult for the child, but that child is mature enough to express feelings, it might be appropriate to allow that child to testify. However, if the purpose of the testimony is for one parent to obtain a greater amount of parenting time than the other parent, the child's testimony may be unnecessary. Additionally, there are certain laws and restrictions that have been implemented when it comes to child testimony in custody disputes.
Child custody can be the most complex process in a divorce involving children. But the complications and challenges related to custody and visitation can be avoided if the parents make the child's best interests their top priority.
Source: The Huffington Post, "Divorce Confidential: Child Testimony in Divorce Proceedings," Caroline Choi, Jan. 29, 2015