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Can my 11 year old son be a witness in a motion for civil contempt hearing

Fort Lauderdale, FL |

My son has direct knowledge was an eye witness that a number of things on this report that was filed against my fiance by her ex-husband are flat out lies. Help!!

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Attorney answers 6


You would have to get permission by the court to allow him to testify but most judges don't allow child testimony unless absolutely necessary.


Not unless the Judge gives you special permission, which almost NEVER happens, especially in someone else's custody fight!

This information is a general answer and is not specific to any particular case. If you find this Answer helpful please make sure to indicate that on AVVO.


Your fiancé would have to obtain court permission for your child to testify. The rule is intended to afford additional protection to minor children by avoiding any unnecessary involvement of children in family law litigation. While due process considerations prohibit an absolute ban on child testimony, the rule requires that a judge determine whether the child's testimony is necessary and relevant to the issues prior to a child being required to testify. Although a court would probably not be inclined to allow an 11 year old to testify, I would not simply punt on the issue if your so is relatively articulate and mature and is the only one who can testify as to the relevant facts at issue. Of course, you need to think about whether it is your son's best interests to be thrust into the middle of this dispute. If he testifies in open court, as opposed to in chambers just with the judge, he will be subject to cross-examination, which is not pleasant even for adults, Good luck.

You would have to get permission by the court to allow him to testify but most judges don't allow child testimony unless absolutely necessary.

This answer is intend to provide general information on the topic raised by the question and should not be relied up as or considered to be legal advice. Before you take any action, you should retain and consult with an attorney to confirm what the appropriate course of action is in your particular case.


In order for any child to testify in court, you would need to file a Motion for Child Testimony and have a hearing on that Motion prior to the hearing on the Motion for Contempt. Each county will have special rules. In Okaloosa county for example, there is an age given where the child can testify. In others, the courts use the verbiage that the child "must be of sufficient age and intelligence." Keep in mind that if the Court can obtain the information that the child has from another source, the child will most likely not be able to testify.


Your fiancé would need to file a motion requesting permission for your son to testify. It is a little unusual in that it is not the parents that are involved in the case. It would probably be helpful for your fiancé to state in her motion that the child's father consents to the request. Regardless, it would then be up to the particular judge. If the judge granted the request, your son would almost certainly testify "in camera" (i.e. in private) to the judge, rather than in the presence of others.

Disclaimer: this is intended for general informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice, nor create an attorney/client relationship.


Absolutely not. What kind of parent pits the child against the other parent? What kind of parent even talks with a child about testifying in court. Not long ago it was made a misdemeanor to take a minor child to court to testify.

R. Jason de Groot, Esq. We do not have an attorney-client relationship. I am not your lawyer. The statements I make do not constitute legal advice. Any statements made by me are based upon the limited facts you have presented, and under the premise that you will consult with a local attorney. This is not an attempt to solicit business. This disclaimer is in addition to any disclaimers that this website has made. I am only licensed in Florida.

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