Often times in the neglect and abuse, termination of parental rights, and adoption litigation — the child’s testimony can tip the scale one way or another.  Under the adoption statute, the child’s position, if the child is fourteen or older, shall be considered by the court.  Under the TPR statute, §16-2353(b)(2)&(4); mental and emotional needs of the child as well as the child’s opinion as to his/her best interest are both codified.  In child custody cases, the child’s opinion as to his/her physical custodian is one of the statutory elements, §16-914(3)(B).  Regardless, in family cases, the litigants face resistance from both the government as well as the GAL to the child testifying at times under the auspices of irreparable harm to the child but at times only to eliminated damaging testimony.  There is no question that the court is first and foremost charged with protecting the best interests of the child.  However, there are ways to have the benefit of having the best evidence by having the child testify first hand while both curtailing and eliminating the potential harm to the child. The legal principle, as to the applicable standard for the court to consider before allowing child’s testimony was
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Categories: Family Law.