Who Should I Call to Testify? - Teachers, Babysitters, Doctors

The vast majority of divorce and custody cases end in settlements. Mediation and arbitration allow divorce and custody parties to craft their own custody orders by working together. Unfortunately, this does not always work. Parties are not always able to come to an agreement about what is best for their children. In this situation, the parties will need to have a trial and present evidence to a judge that will support their respective proposals for the children. This evidence will often include testimony from various witnesses. The decision of who you should call to testify can be a difficult one.

When the issue is child custody, sometimes the best witnesses are often ones who have consistent and recurring contact with the children. Teachers fill this bill more than almost any other adult. A teacher may be an important witness to call, depending on the issues in your case. For example, a teacher may be able to demonstrate that one parent is not often involved in the child’s education and has never appeared at a parent-teacher conference. The teacher could also be important to testify that when a child is with one parent, the child often appears late at school or fails to complete school work when in his or her care. However, these witnesses must have a very specific purpose in your overall trial strategy. Teachers will not be valuable or relevant to every custody dispute.

Babysitters may also be an important witness. Babysitters can provide testimony as to the state of the inside of a parent’s home and may be able to provide insight on how the children behave when not at school, which can often be quite different. The babysitter may be able to provide testimony that he or she is frequently in charge of the children when at the other parent’s house while that parent goes out to party with friends. Conversely, your own babysitter may be able to testify in your favor to demonstrate your children are happy and healthy in your home.

Finally, doctors can also provide important evidence. Like a teacher, they may be able to testify that one of the parents is almost never involved in a child’s regular medical care. When a child has special medical needs, the doctor may need to provide expert testimony about the child’s medical needs. In extreme cases, a doctor may be necessary to testify that a child has been physically abused while in one of the parent’s care. However, in some cases an expert will need to be hired for the specific purpose of testifying. It’s not always appropriate to call a treating doctor as a witness.

If you have questions about what witnesses to call to support your case, call us today for an appointment at (732) 529-6937. We have extensive trial experience and can help you choose the right witnesses to achieve your goal. Please also check out our YouTube channel for other FAQs about divorce topics like this one.
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