Affidavits written by minors


#1

A few years ago, my ex and I wound up in custody court over our youngest child, then in elementary school. We have an older son, one who was at that time in high school in a boarding school.

For reasons I would rather not discuss in a public forum, the chances of the judge deciding at a temp custody hearing in my favor were probably nonexistent. I was ordered to have a psychological evaluation, and temp custody was awarded to my ex, with permanent hearing scheduled for nine months later. I was pro se; my ex had a well known local lawyer.

Here’s my question:

When I showed up at his lawyer’s office before the temp hearing, when that lawyer realized I was not there to sign over custody, he went to another room and acme out with an affidavit which he then placed in front of me.

The affidavit was written by my teenage son, and it was loaded with blatantly false statements. it was properly notarized and the lawyer told me that unless I would give up custody of my younger child, he would submit this affidavit in court the following week. And he did just that.

That affidavit caused me an unbelievable amount of emotional trauma, and my son has suffered too. At that time, he was a frightened teenager, and the money for his education was coming from his father’s family. until the big event that started the custody proceedings for my younger child, my son and I had enjoyed a very warm and close relationship.

After the affidavit was read aloud in court, causing me even more emotional trauma, it was five, long years before I heard from my son again.

today, I hear from him almost every day, and of course I’'m very glad for that. HOWEVER, my son has tremendous problems with anxiety, and he absolutely refuses to discuss the custody case at all. I’ve seen mental health professionals since that time (bout 5years now), and I believe my son was also deeply traumatized bt that affidavit–thAt he was coerced into writing it and that it has hurt him terribly. He ws never the type to lie for anyone. (He till isn’t.)

I was told by a lawyer around the time of those hearings that the judge “was not supposed to accept an affidavit from a minor.”

Is this true? Ive searched everywhere online, and I cannot find the answer. Depending on what the answer is, I might try to rectify this situation even at this late date by seeking damages. I don’t think the lawyer should have asked or accepted it, nor do I think the judge should have accepted it or used it. Am I wrong?

If I’m right, what might I possibly be able to do? My therapist said it could be a violation of HIPPA rights.

Thank you.


#2

Correction–the comment about my HIPPA rights was not about this affidavit. Please disregard that.


#3

While it sounds like there was highly questionable tactics involved in your case, I’m not sure you have a legal remedy at this point. It is certainly too late to appeal the custody order. There is no divorce/custody remedy available to address the fact that the minor’s affidavit was coerced and read in open court.


#4

Mr. Rosen

Thank you very, very much for your reply.

I am not interested in appealing the custody of my younger child. It certainly is too late for that.

I am specifically questioning the ethics of both the plaintiff’s lawyer as well as the judge with regard to accepting and allowing to be read in open court, an affidavit written by a scared and traumatized teenager (my son).

I’ll also add that the judge had already determined temporary custody before she read my son’s affidavit out loud.

I’m horrified to this day that any officer of the court would allow a teenager to be used like that. Both my son and I were traumatized by this, and we lost five years of our relationship.

What I want to know is whether or not the lawyer who told me the judge was not supposed to accept a minor written by a minor was correct; and if so, if I have some sort legal remedy to punish those who did this. My son is absolutely unable to talk about that incident. He has been terribly wronged and traumatized. (I think it’s obvious that I was as well.) My son was exploited by the court, and it was 100% unnecessary.

Thank you very much for your answer. I’m still haunted by this whole incident. Vulnerable children used as pawns against their parents are part of the whole parental alienation “syndrome,” and this is such a glaring example of it. I’m still amazed a judge would do such a thing–I’m not as surprised that a lawyer would. Someone should have had enough common sense to say NO to traumatizing a teenager like that.


#5

If you believe the attorney acted improperly, you can file a grievance with the North Carolina State Bar.