Parenting & Time-Sharing §61.13(3) Part 10 of 19| Divorce Attorney Fort Myers/Naples

(i) The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding, and experience to express a preference.

  1. All children, especially small ones, are dependent on their parents for support, material and emotional. They will tell a parent what they perceive the parent wants to hear, in order to not be cut off from that support. Children do not always tell the truth. Like adults, they speak from self-interest.

Consider also that if one parent wants a child to testify so that he or she can “win,” what does that say about that parent’s ability to promote the other parent and facilitate a relationship with the other parent? What does it say about that parent’s willingness and ability to share parenting decisions?

  1. We don’t let them decide whether they will go to school and we don’t let them decide if they will spend time with both parents. The public policy is that children must go to school whether they like it or not. The public policy when parents separate is that children spend time with both parents, whether they like it or not. A “good parent” wants the children to spend time with the other parent, unless there is something so wrong with the other parent it would be detrimental for the children to do so.
  2. CHILD TESTIMONY. Remember: Hearsay is (1) self-serving (you only present the hearsay you like); (2) violates the other party’s right of confrontation (he or she can’t cross examine the out of court declarant); (3) is unreliable because it depends upon the selective memory of the witness; (4) legally inadmissible. A persistent effort to bring hearsay evidence to court may indicate a lack of respect for the law, which is relevant to factor number six (f).

Also note there are two rules, 12.363 “Evaluation of Minor Child” and Rule 12.407 “Testimony and Attendance of Minor Child” designed to protect children in these cases.

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