Finding Solutions To Complex Issues

Do children testify in Minnesota divorce proceedings?

On Behalf of | Mar 13, 2024 | Child Custody |

Divorces can be stressful and emotionally challenging, especially when they’re contentious and involve untangling numerous details. In these situations, both parents and children may find themselves in the middle of it all.

If you’re a parent worried about your child having to appear in court during a divorce, Minnesota law provides for a guardian ad litem to protect the child’s interests. This spares them from the stress of the courtroom.

The role of the guardian ad litem

In the state of Minnesota, children are generally not required to testify in court during divorce proceedings. When it’s crucial to represent the child’s best interests, the court enlists a guardian ad litem. This individual advocates for the child, especially when the court is making decisions about their future living arrangements and well-being.

The guardian ad litem communicates with the child, observes their interactions with each parent and gathers information about the child’s situation and needs. They then present this information to the court to help the judge make informed decisions about custody and parenting time.

For example, they might report on the child’s comfort level in each parent’s home or share their wishes about where they would like to live. They might also share a child’s preferences on which school they want to attend. However, they only share these details if the child is age-appropriate and the information is relevant to the case.

Child custody and parenting time issues

While the guardian ad litem is a key figure in protecting the child’s interests, it’s equally important for parents to secure their own legal representation. The possibility of a divorce and its potential impact on children can be stressful. But there are systems in place to protect the little ones, like the guardian ad litem.

The guardian ad litem advocates for the child only, though. So, parents should still seek their own legal counsel to protect their interests and rights during the divorce process. A legal professional can also work with the guardian ad litem to ensure the child’s best interests remain a priority in all discussions and decisions.