Are Children Allowed To Testify in Florida Divorce Cases? Orlando Divorce Lawyer
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Are Children Allowed To Testify in Florida Divorce Cases?


Divorce proceedings can be challenging for all involved parties, including children. Divorce cases can take an emotional toll on both parents and children. Often, things are tougher for children. In order to protect children, Florida law has strict rules governing the use of child testimony in divorce proceedings. However, this does not mean children cannot testify in Florida divorce cases. The law provides for the possibility of children testifying in divorce cases, but this is not common. In fact, in most cases, children testifying in divorce cases is discouraged. Discouraging child testimony during divorce proceedings is aimed at shielding children from the psychological impact the adversarial nature of divorce proceedings could have on them.

When Can Children Be Allowed To Testify in Florida Divorce Cases?

In Florida, the law limits children’s participation in divorce cases. Children are generally not allowed to testify in court unless the court allows it. In most cases, courts do not give out such orders. The only time such an order may be given is if a judge determines there is a compelling reason to hear a child’s testimony. If the court finds “good cause” for a child to be involved in divorce proceedings, it may issue an order allowing the child to testify. In Florida, the court may only allow a child’s testimony during divorce if it finds that it is “necessary and relevant” to the case.

Parents can file a petition with the court asking that their child be allowed to testify, but such requests are usually subject to strict scrutiny and are often not granted. If a parent files such a petition, it will most likely be rejected unless they can provide a compelling reason for requesting that their child testify. If the issue at hand relates to a serious matter, such as substance abuse, domestic violence, or neglect, the court may allow a child’s testimony.

If a judge allows a child’s testimony in a divorce case, the court can hear the testimony in open court or conduct an in-camera interview. Most judges prefer in-camera interviews, as they are far less stressful for children. Judges only allow the parents and a court reporter to be present during in-camera interviews.

Child’s Preference

According to Florida law, when dealing with timesharing matters and parental responsibility, the court may consider the child’s reasonable preference, among many other factors aimed at upholding the child’s best interests. Some states set a specific age when the court may ask a child which parent they prefer to live with. This is not the case in Florida. In Florida, judges consider several factors when deciding if to consider a child’s preference as it pertains to timesharing arrangements. First, a judge must consider if the child is mature enough to share their reasonable preference. Second, they must consider if the child understands the implications of the decision. Lastly, the judge must consider if the child can make a meaningful decision.

Contact Our Orlando Divorce Lawyer

If you want to speak to a skilled divorce lawyer serving clients in Florida, contact our Orlando divorce lawyers at The Arwani Law Firm.

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