Probably not because judges are aware of the fact that testifying in court can be a very scary experience for a child, especially if that child is forced to testify against a parent or during a bitter custody dispute.
If the judge needs the testimony of the child or evidence of the child’s views and preferences in order to make a determination then the following options are available:
- the judge can request that the Office of the Children’s Lawyer become involved in order to represent the child in court.
- The judge can ask to speak to the child alone in his or her chambers. However, this is often very difficult to do and used only in extreme cases because judges need to ensure that they are asking questions in such a way that the child can understand what is being asked as well as the judge needs to ensure that he or she is not suggesting answers to a child by asking leading questions.
- Last, if the first two options fail then the judge may need the child to come to court and testify but this is very rarely ordered.