Why is a Child’s Voice Important in Making Court Decisions?
Hearing a child speak for the first time is a moment parents treasure. Parents often argue which word their children say first, fighting between “mama” or “papa,” as it signifies the parent a child is closer to. However, there are instances where a child’s voice could also decide for the entire family. For example, in court hearings, a child’s voice will dictate the future of the family they belong to. But why is a child’s voice important in making court decisions? Here are some ideas.
1. Serves as Evidence
A child’s testimony can serve as evidence, and it can even be the only basis of a case. If a child is the victim of sexual abuse, then the testimony will be the only thing against the accused because a child is too young to lie or make up a story. It has been proven that the younger a child is, the more likely his testimony is to be credible because the outside world does not yet influence a child, and he is not yet exposed to ways to deceive others. If a child is a victim of sexual abuse, for example, a recording of the child’s testimony could be used as evidence in court. The jury and the judge will hear the child’s voice and decide whether the defendant is guilty or not.
2. States the Preference of the Child
The child’s preference is also taken into account when it comes to deciding a case. If the child is not yet old enough to understand the criminal justice system, then the judge will not consider the child’s preference. But if the child is old enough to understand what is happening, the judge will consider the child’s choice.
For example, if a child is the victim of sexual abuse, the child could testify in court. The judge will consider the child's preference if the child is uncomfortable testifying in court. The child may be allowed to testify before a judge and jury, but the child may also be entitled to testify in a separate room, away from the defendant.
3. Acts as Basis for Custody
If a child is exposed to any type of domestic violence, this could be a factor that is considered when determining custody. For example, if one parent is abusive to the other parent, then the abusive parent may not be allowed to have sole possession of the child. The child may only be allowed to see the abusive parent during supervised visits.
4. Clears Conflict Between Parties
If there is a lot of conflict between the divorcing parents, it will be difficult for them to agree on decisions regarding the child. If a judge can make the decisions regarding the child, the parents may be able to avoid having to communicate with each other. It can help resolve the conflict between them and make it easier for the child to have a good relationship with both parents.
A child's voice is essential in court decisions concerning family issues, including divorce. As children see everything happening at home, they may relay vital information in making decisions that can affect their family's trajectory or their future in the long run. Therefore, in court hearings, a child will often be called by a judge and asked a few questions that they can use to make the best decision for everyone involved in the case.
Hamilton Cahoon is a law firm covering family mediation, estate planning, and many more law services in Medical Hat, Alberta. Our goal is to assist families and their battle to have legal rights over matters beyond their control. Speak to our lawyers today by scheduling an appointment through our website today.