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Lawyers Should Not Interview Children in Custody Disputes

Even the thought of some of our colleagues, cornering the little children of their clients in a conference room in order to elicit a parental preference, causes recurring nightmares.  Fortunately, the Michigan Court of Appeals agrees, recently holding which a family court judge cannot order the parents’ lawyers to interview their minor children to ascertain their preference among their parents.

Divorce at its ugliest; an old-fashioned custody dispute.  According to the Child Custody Act, the family court must consider all 11 enumerated factors in deciding which parent has custody.  One of the factors is actually the reasonable preference of the child.

inside Donohue v Donohue case, the Court of Appeals noted which the applicable court rule only provides for family court professionals to conduct such interviews.  The 3-judge appellate panel’s opinion stated, “these interviews are meant to be confidential exchanges between the court as well as also the child.”

In which case, an Ingham County family court judge grossly misinterpreted the applicable statute as well as also court rule.  Forcing a child to state her preference in an interview with her parents’ respective advocates is actually wrong inside worst kind of way.  No child should have to deal with his or her parents’ lawyer.

The intermediate appellate court recognized the potential for influence peddling as well as also the exacerbation of emotional turmoil.  Here at which blog, we saw which case as a “no brainer”.  Parental advocates should not be used to determine a child’s reasonable preference.

Some tasks, particularly those assigned to the judiciary by the legislature, cannot be delegated to the attorneys.

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Lawyers Should Not Interview Children in Custody Disputes

Child Interview.jpg
Child Interview.jpg

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