Our Blog Aims to Inform the Community Contact the Columbia Family Law Group with Any Questions You Might Have

Will My Child Be Called to Testify in Court?

Parents often want to know if their child will be called to testify in court. The answer to this question is that in Missouri it is left to the discretion of the judge hearing your case. In general, most professionals advise against involving children in court proceedings because it is a traumatic experience for them regardless of what he or she is being called to testify about. Furthermore, oftentimes when children are called to testify they do not want to take sides and so while one parent believes his/her child’s testimony is critical to the case it often turns out that the child’s actual testimony is far less compelling than what was previously believed by the parent.

Most judges also feel that if there is other evidence available regarding the child’s wishes then the child should not be called to testify. For example, if there is a court appointed Guardian ad Litem or the parents can stipulate to what the child would testify to most judges would much prefer this evidence over a child actually being brought into the courtroom to testify against a parent.

Finally, keep in mind that in Missouri a child’s wishes amount to only one of eight factors that the court must consider in determining custody. The child’s wishes may be given little or no weight or great weight depending on the age, maturity level, and perceived truthfulness of the child.