Reproduction in whole or in part without prior written permission is prohibited. The court does well to begin the interview by asking the child simple questions, which the child can answer with ease and freedom from anxiety, e.g., name, address, age, telephone number, etc. In preparation for my presentation to the AAML Seminar, I sent a form survey with nine questions to each of the family court judges in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties. What do you think I need to know to make a good decision?”, “I ask the child if she/he knows the difference between telling the truth and a lie. Or, according to one judge, it could be a deputy if the judge was worried about safety due to the child’s age, size, or mental health status. He is frequently appointed to mediate and arbitrate domestic relations matters. If you find this in your state then heed what the judge says and follow the rules. How do they like spending time with mom or dad?”, “I always ask them to tell me one thing they like about each parent.”, “Who lives at mom/dad’s house? Henry Gornbein practices in all areas of Michigan family law including divorce, child custody, parenting time, child support, spousal support, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, interstate custody issues, domicile issues, as well as mediation and arbitration of all family law matters. -In some states, like Arizona, there is a website where sometimes judges will actually put on there what they want, what they don’t want, what you should do and the rules of the courtroom. I don’t make them choose.”, “Yes – not in those words. It is somewhat unusual for a judge to conduct the child interview instead of a mental health professional in custody cases. What activities do you like to do? -what questions does the judge ask you?-In some states, like Arizona, there is a website where sometimes judges will actually put on there what they want, what they don’t want, what you should do and the rules of the courtroom. Answers: There was a wide variety of responses, including questions to “break the ice,” and general life questions. The key is that an interview cannot be conducted in a vacuum but that the interview should not be used to determine any of the other 11 factors of the best interests statute. He is certified as a mediator as well as in collaborative law. There’s an art to asking questions to elicit great expert testimony in custody court. Do you play sports? By Henry Gornbein Updated: July 26, 2019Categories: Children's and Parenting Issues after Divorce, Legal Issues. Below, we will discuss the most common questions related to child custody that Legalmatch receives. The Judge may ask the child if one parent has prompted them to say certain things. Child custody cases require a good working knowledge of family law as well as state law. Who do they go to with their problems and successes? These are some of my thoughts along with 14 of our esteemed family court judges. There were also general questions about home, school, and family as well as about age, grade, and other basic information. The judge will also question the individual seeking guardianship. The judge will probably ask questions about the home in which your child will live if he gives custody to you. He is fifteen years old. We are curious as to what types of questions the judge might ask during the interview with my stepson. It is imperative that you are prepared for custody court and research how to answer questions the judge will ask you. Not directly.”. Not necessarily. 3 Tips for Communicating with Your Ex BEFORE Custody Court, The Two Essential Parts to Your Child Custody Case. Discipline? Answers: There was a wide variety of responses, including questions to “break the ice,” and general life questions. In addition, the law now requires that all interviews be recorded in some fashion and sealed to protect the privacy of the child but also to provide some sort of record for possible appellate review. I recently spoke on this issue at the Michigan Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) Seminar. I also explain why we are here talking.”, “Can you accept what I decide? The judge may also ask if the child will have an appropriate space for homework, playtime, and meals. I ask open-ended questions.”, “Depending on the age of the child. The judge may also ask if the child will have an appropriate space for homework, playtime, and meals. I will demonstrate this by a story have a story to tell you about my daughter Paloma, and it does relate to the family law courtroom but you are going to have to wait till the end to find out. What are your chores; nighttime routine; bedtime; weekends?”, Answers: “Always, but rephrase it as, ‘If you could live anywhere you want, or have any schedule with your parents, what would it be?’”, “Not in those words. One judge responded that he or she would explain that “it is my job to help your parents when they don’t agree.” One response was that there would be four to five questions to establish the child’s ability. Your Relationship With Your Ex Almost every state considers that frequent and loving contact with both parents is in the best interest of a child. I would like to share my findings of this unscientific survey with you, which reflect the judges’ actual comments and statements: Answers: Ages ranged from four years of age to 10 or 11 years of age, with the majority saying five or six years of age. The court determined that the eight-year-old child would not be able to state a reasonable preference. 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