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The testimony of children in child custody cases

Many Illinois residents might agree that divorce is often very hard on the children. While their parents are eager to leave the past behind and move on in life, the children are insecure. They usually have the desire for their parents to continue to live together under the same roof. However, sadly, that generally does not happen. Hence, in the best interest of the child, the courts sometimes give an opportunity to the child to choose with which parent the child would like to live. This may be attractive to a parent who wishes to get physical custody of the child in a child custody case but there are some things to consider in such a situation.

The first thing that the parents should do is question if it is wise to have the child testify in their custody war. Will the child be able to express how the situation is affecting that child? If the situation is very unpleasant, will it be possible for the child to express that to the judge?

Before putting the child in that position, it is important for the parents to think about the effect that testifying will have on the child. In general, the divorce will be very traumatic for the child. Having to testify may traumatize that child even more. It is important for the child to have a good relationship with both parents. The testimony can impact the child's relationship with the other parent and that is not in the best interest of the child.

It is also important to understand the laws concerning child custody in Illinois. In many states, children above age 14 are allowed to testify unless that is not in the best interest of the child. In Illinois, the age varies; hence, it is a sensible idea to consult an Illinois attorney before allowing the child to testify to clear up any possible issues or questions.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Divorce Confidential: Child Testimony in Divorce Proceedings," Caroline Choi, Jan. 30, 2015

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