At the David W. Martin Law Group, our South Carolina child custody attorneys know that many parents may believe that if they could persuade a judge to ask their kids who they want to live with during their divorce proceedings, they would pick (me).
Fortunately, South Carolina children may be allowed to testify during divorce proceedings, but this is generally done with caution and consideration for the child’s best interests. Courts prioritize the child’s welfare when determining whether they should testify and under what circumstances — instead of forcing them to choose which parent they should live with.
Here, we discuss some critical points for South Carolina parents to remember during their divorce and child custody proceedings.
What Will South Carolina Courts Consider When Weighing a Child’s Testimony?
The South Carolina Family Courts protect all children’s privacy and emotional well-being during testimony when they find it appropriate to take their preferences into account. This may involve closed-courtroom proceedings, the use of a guardian ad litem, or other reasonable steps to minimize stress and trauma for the child.
Next, they will consider the child’s:
- Best Interests
The court’s primary concern is the child’s well-being. If the judge believes that testifying would be in the child’s best interests and is necessary to make a fair and informed decision, they may permit it.
- Age and Maturity
The court will consider the age and maturity of the child when deciding whether they can testify. Older and more mature children are more likely to be allowed to testify compared to younger children.
In some cases, older children, usually at least in their teenage years, may prefer living with one parent. While the child’s preference can be a factor the court considers, it is not the sole determining factor in custody decisions.
- Subject Matter
If a child is allowed to testify, their testimony is usually limited to matters directly relevant to their well-being, such as custody arrangements, visitation, or their preferences regarding where they want to live.
- Child’s Wishes vs. Court Decisions
Ultimately, the court can make custody and visitation decisions based on what it believes is in the child’s best interests, even if those decisions do not align with the child’s preferences.
It is important to note that every divorce case is unique, and the court’s decisions regarding whether a child can testify and to what extent will depend on the case’s specific circumstances.
If you have questions about how your South Carolina divorce and child custody case will unfold, we can help you navigate the legal process and ensure that the child’s interests are protected throughout the divorce proceedings.
Contact Our South Carolina Family Law Attorneys Today
Call 803-548-2468 or contact us online to learn more about your legal rights and options to pursue the best outcome for your unique case by partnering with our dedicated South Carolina family law attorneys at the David W. Martin Law Group today.