If you’re worried about whether or not you’re likely to gain custody of your child, you may want to find more information relevant to your ability to get the results you want. One aspect which you may consider to be particularly significant is which parent’s custody your child might prefer. But in a hearing, might your child be allowed to testify at all?
When it comes to arguing your side effects, you may or may not want your child to testify. The court is likely to be swayed in the direction where they believe the minor’s best interest to be most probable, however, and a child’s testimony may make an impact on this decision. If you’re concerned about this aspect of your custody case, allow us to provide some context.
Are Children Allowed to Give Testimony in North Carolina?
In a child custody case, the judge makes a decision based upon what he or she finds to be in “the best interest” of the minor child. In making that determination, the court will consider any relevant evidence, including positive and negative aspects of both parents. Additionally, in some circumstances, the court will even allow a child to give testimony.
In North Carolina, there is no specific age at which a child may testify. The court is required to determine whether a child is competent to testify. Whether the child’s wishes, as well as the child’s best interest, will be considered in the case. This determination is made by considering whether the child is of suitable age and discretion and whether the child has the ability to understand the difference between the truth and a lie.
Generally speaking, the older the child, the more likely the court will allow the child to testify. If the court determines that a child is of suitable age and discretion, the court must consider the living preferences of the child, but the court has discretion as to what weight to give to the child’s testimony and wishes. Ultimately, the court will reach a decision based upon all evidence presented, including any child testimony, as well as what the court finds to be in the child’s best interest.
What Is the Weight of a Child’s Testimony?
If the court decides to allow a child to testify, the court has options on how to take the child’s testimony. Unless otherwise agreed upon by the parties, the court will require the child to testify like any other witness on the stand and the court will allow the attorneys to question the child with direct and cross-examination. However, when the parties consent to do so, the court will allow the child to testify in chambers either with or without attorneys present.
However, as both parties’ consent is required to allow a child to testify in this circumstance, you may want to avoid granting your consent without your attorney present. This is because, depending on how your lawyer may want to effectively communicate your side of the case, your child’s testimony may result in some complications relating to those arguments.
Should I Hire a Child Custody Lawyer?
If you’re trying to decide whether or not you want to hire a lawyer for your North Carolina child custody case, you may not know how a qualified attorney might be able to assist you. How might a family attorney adept in child custody law be able to help you?
Assist in Completing Necessary Forms
Legal forms may feel unfamiliar or overwhelming at the best of times, and when legal proceedings are likely to become emotionally charged, the process may feel more difficult. A child custody lawyer may be able to help you when filling out the necessary paperwork.
Build a Strong Case
A qualified family law attorney is likely to have a strong familiarity with child custody laws, which might put them in an ideal position for building a case in your favor. This legal adeptness in combination with your lawyer’s ability to get familiar with your case and personal circumstances may allow them to create a series of arguments that more accurately portray your side.
Argue Your Point of View Effectively
Lawyers are often considered to be particularly skilled negotiators, and this may be especially helpful during the hearings surrounding your child custody case. In particular, in addition to establishing a strong case, your lawyer may be specially equipped to debate and communicate for you in a way that is particularly effective.
Aid in Establishing a More Preferable Custody Arrangement
When it comes to negotiating your side of the child custody case, your lawyer might be able to argue for a custody arrangement that is slightly more in your favor. This might include allowing your minor child to testify, digging up negative historical aspects of your ex-partner, and determining which parent is more likely to encourage visits with the other parent and practice fairness in that regard.
Contact King Law for an Experienced and Qualified North Carolina Family Law Attorney
We at King Law know how important your child custody case is, and we want to empathize with the way you may be feeling about your circumstances. Our legal team is friendly and compassionate, and we dedicate ourselves to treating our clients well and leading them through every step of the legal process. We’re licensed to practice family law in North and South Carolina, so you know we have the qualifications and abilities to argue a case well.
If you are involved in a child custody matter and need representation or simply have general questions, we may be able to assist you in your case. If you think we may be able to help, please call us at (888) 748-5464 or (888) 748-KING or complete our contact form at your earliest convenience.