Please be assured that you are not the only parent with concerns about teen testimony in Washington divorce trials. It is natural to want to protect your child and it is important to understand how teen testimony is handled in Washington courts.
Washington judges consider the thoughts and opinions of children when deciding on issues of child custody during a divorce trial. That being said, your child may or may not have to testify in open court.
The Judge Will Consider Your Child’s Age, Maturity and Ability
In some cases, a child may testify on the stand in open court. However, in other cases, a judge may use his or her discretion to have the child “testify” in the more informal and comfortable environment of the judge’s chambers rather than in open court. In making this decision, the judge will consider your child’s:
- Age – Children who are 16 or 17-years-old may be treated differently than children who are 13 or 14-years-old.
- Maturity – A court will consider a child’s maturity, emotional needs, and ability to articulate sound reasoning.
- Other relevant factors – If your child was abused or has a cognitive disability, for example, then the court may consider these special circumstances.
You and Your Child Will Not Be Alone
Teen testimony in Washington divorce cases can be difficult for both the child and the parents. However, an experienced divorce lawyer can make this difficult situation easier. If you are concerned about child custody proceedings then please contact a Washington child custody attorney today for a confidential consultation.