Do not bring your children to Court unless requested by the judge!

Children should not be in Family Court in RI unless requested by the Judge. If the judge wants to interview your child about visitation or custody, he or she will request you to bring your kids to Court. Younger children, infants and toddlers often cry or make noise in the Courtroom disrupting the proceedings. Teenagers are very problematic as they want to get involved in the dispute. If you are involved in a Rhode Island child custody battle in Providence Family Court you should retain a top RI child custody lawyer.

RI child custody law

RI child custody attorney

Older children can be traumatized since they are now in the middle of a dispute between their parents.

On one occasion, I was negotiating custodial issues in Providence Family Court, when a 15 year old  child of the parties runs up to me and starts arguing with me. This put me in an uncomfortable situation. It is generally a bad idea to get you kids involved in your domestic feud. You should tell them as little information as possible. There also may be a restraining order preventing you from discussing the case with your children or making negative or disparaging remarks about the other parent. Also, do not introduce your child to your paramour while you are still married. You should not get third party boyfriends and girlfriend involved in your separation process in RI. This may be harmful to your child and could lead to a no contact order.

Also see When Can a RI Child Decide Which Parent to Live With?

Arguments against children interviewed by Family Court Judge

“Arguments against children becoming involved in the process in any way include concerns that children lack the ability to assimilate relevant information about the family justice process and may not understand what they are being asked. There are other particular concerns about judicial interviews. For example, children may be manipulated by parents into providing inaccurate information. Another concern is that children may experience guilt, pressure, or retribution from parents, either before or after a meeting with a judge. If judges are not adequately trained in interviewing children, they may not reliably explore children’s views or feelings. Some suggest that as a result of pressure from parents or poor judicial interview techniques, children may be “traumatized” by the experience. These concerns may be heightened to the extent that judges hearing family law cases are not always specialist family law judges. Lawyers and judges also express concern that allowing a judge to interview a child, especially in the absence of parents or their counsel, derogates from the traditional judicial role and may violate the rights of parents.”  Children’s voices in family court: Guidelines for judges meeting children Nicholas Bala, * Rachel Birnbaum, ** Francine Cyr, *** & Denise McColley **** Family Law Quarterly, Fall 2013, 47, 379-396 

Article by Rhode Island Child Custody Lawyer David Slepkow, 401-437-1100.