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Children speaking to the judge

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Junior Member
What is the name of your state? FL

my ex & i have shared custody although the kids are living with him. i live about 1 1/2 hour away. the kids want to live with me full time. we have a mediation set for feb. my oldest son (14) wants to speak to the judge behind closed doors--to scared to speak in front of his father. my youngest also wants to speak to the judge (11) but i believe he is to young. can i have a court reporter take a statement/video or something from my son and present it to the judge. the kids have told their father they want to live with me full time but he is very hard to communicate with. he thinks he is above everyone and only thinks of himself. any advice? i will be representing myself in court. can't afford an attorney and free legal aid is understaffed. i was ripped off by the atty. i retained so i am kinda stuck. i have legal secretary background but in criminal.


I had a custody case in North Carolina in November 2002. I also wanted my sond to speak to the judge in chambers. When I asked for this during the hearing, the judge asked my ex if that would be permissable. She of course said no. Here in NC the court needs the permission of both parents to speak to the children (ages at the time were 11 & 13). The only other option was to call them to testify in open court. The judge also stated that he didn't like that option. So they didn't testify. You should check into the the rules in FL concerning them speaking to the judge privately. The judge is also going to be looking for a good reason to allow the change in custody, especially considering the distance (school change, etc.). Representing yourself is another difficult matter, I would seriously consider hiring an attorney to represent you. There are others here on this site with alot more experience than me. see what they recommend also.


Senior Member
Well, my opinion on this is if the children decided they no longer wanted to go to school, would you let them? If they decided that Playstation 2 was all they wanted to do 24/7, would that be ok? If they decide to live with you and change their minds in a month, is that ok too?

Who is running the show here? The kids are not supposed to be running the households!


Junior Member
From personal experience...

My fiance's 16 year old was living with us (after his mother put him out) for a year. While living here, he skipped school and was told that he could not drive as punishment. He decided that he wanted to stay with his mother for the weekend, then did not come back (mom only wanted him to come babysit for the weekend -- riiigghhtt). There was already a court hearing for modification of custody scheduled for about 45 days after he left. This just couldn't have been because mom didn't want to lose the support money for this child

He showed up in court with his mom. The judge decided that she wanted to hear from him alone and we all left the court room. When we returned, the judge ordered that the parents would have joint physical custody and that the child could decide (while consulting with his parents -- RRRRIIIIGGGGHHHHTT) which parent he wanted to stay with. Needless to say, the kid did not want to endure the punishment of not being able to drive his car and stayed with his mother. His mother said that she could not force him to return, dispite his father's requests that he be sent back home. The rest of our story shows just how well a kid can manipulate the court to get what he wants, but I won't go into that here.

All that said - it's my lawfully uneducated opinion (yes, I made that up) that it really will depend on the judge.

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