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Getting your child's testimony during a New Jersey divorce

If you and your spouse cannot agree on a child custody plan following your New Jersey divorce, you may want to ask your child to speak on your behalf. After all, the judge is going to make the ruling based on what is considered to be in the best interests of your child and if he or she steps up and testifies that living with you would be preferable, that could definitely swing things in your favor. Children are legally allowed to testify.

There are two main things to consider before you do this, though, and the first is your own motivation. If the child can paint a clear picture of what should happen, that's fine. If you're only interested in sending your child to the stand so that he or she can choose you over your spouse in a public way and hurt your spouse, that is the wrong reason.

It's also wise to think about what this is likely to do to the child in the long run. Getting on the stand may be stressful and difficult. Is the child going to resent you for asking him or her to do so in later years? If you have to force your child to do it, it is likely not the best option. You also don't want to create a rift between your child and your ex. The goal should always be to find a good living situation, not to impact their relationship for no reason other than spite.

Be sure that you understand your legal options when it comes to child custody, and think through every decision that you make carefully.

Source: Huffington Post, "Divorce Confidential: Child Testimony in Divorce Proceedings" Caroline Choi, Jan. 29, 2015

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