What you need to know if you are considering having a boyfriend or girlfriend testify as a character witness at your child custody trial.
The first thing I would tell you to do is download my Best Interest of the Child Checklist by going to
On that checklist one of the factors is “What type of relationship does that child have with other important people in his or her life?”
In my mind, a boyfriend or girlfriend who is a long term partner is a very important character witness and it is my practice to have a boyfriend or girlfriend testify if they have been around for a while or they are expected to be around as a partner, fiancée or future spouse. Having said that, there are some judges who don’t care about hearing from boyfriends or girlfriends. In fact, in the last week and a half I just had a judge tell me that he thought my client’s fiancée was irrelevant to the case and that he thought the most important relationship was between the parent and the child.
In another case I had the judge went so far as to forbid my client to have a ‘significant other’ around during his parenting time with his son. So it really boils down to the judge you have in your case and his or her viewpoints. But it is important to remember to address all of the best interest factors and one of those factors is ‘significant relationships in the life of the child’.
So to Jennifer or anyone else out there who is considering testifying on behalf of your boyfriend or girlfriend in their custody case, you both need to ask yourselves these questions,
- What types of activities does the child and boyfriend or girlfriend do together?
- Do they go to the Mall?
- Do they do arts and crafts?
- How does your child feel about the boyfriend and girlfriend?
- What expressions of affection does the child use about the boyfriend or girlfriend?
- Does the child want to be around boyfriend or girlfriend when the parent is not around?
These are the things the boyfriend or girlfriend will be expected to be asked at the custody court hearing.