When the judge questions the child in a difficult custody case

During a New York family law case, the court will focus on the child’s best interests. However, that can be difficult to discern based solely on what the parents say. In complicated cases, it might be necessary for the judge to speak to the child privately.

Knowing what to expect if a judge decides to speak to the child

A judge speaks to the child to gauge their perspective on the case. According to psychologists, there are certain times when it is better for the judge to take this step. For instance, it is fitting for the judge to talk to the child when they have lived with each parent separately because they will have a better idea about the differences of each household and can provide accurate opinions.

Nervousness and uncertainty are natural for a child who is already facing upheaval from the parents ending their relationship. A judge can break the ice and learn about the child by talking to them. The conversation should encompass their interests, how they are doing in school and what extracurricular activities they enjoy.

The judge should ask the child about the new family dynamic and how it is impacting them. Questions should include how each parent treats them, how much attention they receive, if they are happy and if there are mitigating factors that will affect child custody and parenting time.

Protecting children is paramount in family law cases

If parents are in the middle of a contentious disagreement about how child custody will be determined, it is paramount for them to think about the child’s needs. They must also understand that the court will focus on what is in the best interest of the child when it assesses the facts in the case.

During contested divorce cases, everyone must be protected. This is especially true if the judge needs to get input from the child to come to a fair resolution.