Blog

Child as a Witness in a New Jersey Divorce?

One of the most difficult issues a family law attorney faces is when a child is a witness to, or has important information about, an issue in his or her parent’s divorce case. I have never had a child provide a certification to the court.  I also never called a child as a witness.  Even though there have been times I really could have benefited from his or her evidence. However, I decided that the best interests of a child must always prevail.  Thus, leaving the child out of the fray of litigation was paramount.

In a recent Appellate Division case, Lee v. Chandoha, a father sought to eliminate his child support obligation to the children’s mother. He reasoned that their children lived with him while they were home from college. To support his application, he attached sworn statements (affidavits) from his 22-year-old, and 20-year-old children.*

*The motion judge had declined to consider the affidavits even though the children were over the age of 18, finding such involvement in the parents’ litigation “inappropriate and not in their best interests.” The appellate court deferred to the motion judge’s discretion.

It is surprising that the court would not consider certifications of the children even though they were in college and close to the age of presumed self-sufficiency. However, it is an important reminder that children, regardless of their age, must be shielded and protected from being involved in their parents’ litigation.  Children have the right to, and deserve to, love both of their parents. To make them choose sides is detrimental to their best interests, and must be avoided at all costs. To do otherwise, is to proceed at your own peril.

Please contact me at jlawrence@lawlawfirm.com if you have questions about this post or any other family law matter.

Back to Blog
SHARE THIS POST:

Related Posts

Blog
What Happens When an Ex-Spouse Breaks the Marital Settlement Agreement?

In 2020, it was estimated that 39% of marriages ended in divorce. If you are someone who went through divorce, you may be struggling with a spouse who fails to abide by your marital settlement agreement. They may fail to make payments for alimony, for example, or they may fail to pay their part of…

Read More
Blog
The Dangers of Being Too Nice in a Divorce

You Can Be Too Nice in a Divorce Ninety-five plus percent of all divorce cases will settle without a trial. However, that does not necessarily mean that each spouse ends up with a deal that gives them everything they want. There is such a thing as being too nice when you settle your case and…

Read More
Blog
How the Best Interests Test Works

The Best Interests of the Child Test in New Jersey The concept of best interests of the children actually comes from a United Nations Convention, and it’s applied in all states. Beyond that, many people don’t know what it means. Below is an explanation of the test and how it is used in New Jersey…

Read More
Blog
Are Divorces Actually Becoming More Civil Because of the Pandemic?

Is the Pandemic Changing the Way That People Divorce? Only about 2-3 % of divorce cases end up going to trial. However, even among the 92-98% that avoid a court hearing, there is often rancor and bitterness that plague the relationship between the spouses. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused at least some change that…

Read More
Blog
Main Dispute in a Divorce is Often Custody and Parenting Time
Custody and Parenting Time Often in a divorce, the main area in dispute is custody and parenting time of a child.  Litigants can spend months of their lives and thousands of dollars fighting over their child. There are two different types of custody - legal custody and residential custody.  With regard to legal custody, there... Read More
Blog
Important Factors to Consider When Planning for Post-Divorce Life Amid the Pandemic

Will COVID-19 Change Post-Divorce Finances? Under normal circumstances, soon-to-be ex-spouses need a roughly 30% increase in income, on average, to maintain the same standard of living they had before needing a divorce law firm. However, we are no longer under normal circumstances. The pandemic is further complicating financial pictures for individuals planning for their post-divorce…

Read More
Call Now ButtonCall Us