What Does a Judge Ask a Child in a Child Custody Case?
In a custody case, the court makes decisions about where a child should live and who they should see. They consider factors such as the child’s health, age, and ties to the family, school, and community. In making these decisions, the judge looks to the best interests of the children as their primary focus.
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A child can influence a judge’s decision on child custody by stating their preferences in court or by requesting a custody evaluation. Older children are especially powerful in this regard.
They can also provide a great deal of information about their feelings, wishes, and emotions. This information can be valuable in determining the type of parenting arrangement that is right for the child.
If a judge does decide to interview a child, they should be prepared to have questions that are specifically designed to gather data. They should not ask questions such as, “What was your first impression of your mother’s behavior toward you?” or “What did you like about your father’s Christmas presents?” These are generalized and do not give a true picture of what the child wants.
It is often the case that a child has been in several interrogations over the course of months or even years. This is likely to have influenced their thinking and they will be reluctant, to tell the truth.
Moreover, they may have been exposed to various kinds of manipulations, bribes, or threats. It is also possible that they have been given fabricated reasons for why one parent is more deserving than the other.
For example, if one parent has had a criminal history or has been accused of drug abuse or other crimes, a judge will want to know about these issues before deciding on child custody. In such cases, a forensic psychologist can evaluate the child to find out whether there is any evidence of harm or mistreatment and can provide a report to the judge for consideration.
In such a case, the forensic psychologist may conduct interviews with both parents, as well as with any other adults who have been involved in the child’s life. They can also collect data about the child’s emotional ties to both parents and the community.
The forensic psychologist will then write a report about the child’s opinions and feelings, which can be used by the judge in determining what custody arrangement is best for the child. The report can also help the judge determine how to facilitate communication between the child and each of the parents.
Once the judge has made a final decision about custody, he or she will sign a formal order that states the rules that both parents must follow until their child turns 18 or is emancipated. These rules are called a parenting plan and the order is typically entered into the child’s custody record.
A forensic psychologist is not required to make a recommendation to the court about the custody arrangement; however, they are generally recommended by a judge in more difficult cases. For example, if there is a dispute about the parent’s ability to care for their child, a forensic psychologist will be recommended because they are experts in identifying problems that could impact a child’s mental health.