QUESTION

At what age can a child talk to the judge in a child custody case?

Asked on May 27th, 2012 on Child Custody - Florida
More details to this question:
My daughters ex took her back to court over custody and won. Her attorney said he could not believe ruling went in exhusbands favor. We later found out his current wife is working for the judge. Is that allowed? At what age can the children talk to judge or tell them where they want to live. Right now he also has a DCF investigation going on for abuse.
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1 ANSWER
Answered on Jun 12th, 2012 at 8:11 PM
You have raised a number of issues. There is no bright line on how old a child must be before the judge will talk to him/her. The child has to be old enough to understand what is going on. There is a formal process that must be followed in which your daughter (or her attorney) asks the judge to talk to the child. The judge has the discretion to decide whether to talk to the child. What the mom wants the child to say needs to be relevant to the issues in the case. As for your daughter's ex-husband's current wife working for the judge, there is no question but that the judge should have recused himself. That is at least an appearance of a conflict. The ex-husband had an obligation to inform his attorney about it and the attorney had an obligation to inform your daughter's attorney. The judge should have informed both sides as well, if he knew that his secretary was married to someone appearing before him. A motion can be filed to disqualify the judge and it is possible to attack the order that the judge entered because he should not have heard the case.

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