Can Judge bring in child


#1

I recently went to court to gain custody of my 12 yo daughter. Her mother (w/o my knowledge or consent) suddenly brought in our daughter to speak with the judge. The judge did meet with her. Is that legal?


#2

It is permissible for the judge to speak with children who are the subject of custody law suits. You can certainly object to having the child testify (in chambers or on the stand), but ultimately it is up to the judge to decide whether to speak to the child or not.


#3

If I want my child to speak to the judge and neither attorney will present it, what can I do?


#4

Unless the parties agree otherwise, the child testifies in open court like any other witness. If your lawyer cannot get the other attorney to agree to the child’s meeting with the judge “in chambers” (i.e., the judge’s office), your attorney may at least make a motion to clear the courtroom, as would be the case in a juvenile court hearing, but whether this motion is granted depends on the judge. There is no doubt, of course, that testimony in chamber is the most comfortable way of presenting testimony, not only for the child but also for the judge. It seems that most judges do prefer to take testimony in chambers, and prefer if the parties and their attorneys will agree.