Absolutely. Witnesses are critical in every custody case. At a temporary hearing, a witness is more likely to provide testimony by affidavit, which is a written, sworn statement. At a trial for the final determination of custody, you and the other parent will each have an opportunity to have witnesses give live testimony on your behalf. Among those you might consider as potential witnesses in your custody case are:
- Family members
- Family friends
- Parents of your children’s friends
- Child care providers
- Teachers and tutors
- Health care providers
- Clergy members
In considering which witnesses would best support your case, your attorney may consider the following:
- What has been this witness’s opportunity to observe you or the other parent, especially with your child? How frequently? How recently?
- How long has the witness known you or the other parent?
- What is the relationship of the witness to the child and the parents?
- How valuable is the knowledge that this witness has?
- Does this witness have knowledge different from that of other witnesses?
- Is the witness available and willing to testify?
- Is the witness clear in conveying information?
- Is the witness credible, that is, will the judge believe this witness?
- Does the witness have any biases or prejudices that could impact the testimony?
You and your attorney can work together to determine which witnesses will best support your case. Support your attorney by providing a list of potential witnesses together with your opinion regarding the answers to the above questions.
Give your attorney the phone numbers, addresses, and work places of each of your potential witnesses. This information can be critical for the role that the attorney has in interviewing, contacting them regarding testifying, and issuing subpoenas to compel their court attendance if needed. When parents give conflicting testimony during a custody trial, the testimony of other witnesses can be key to determining the outcome of the case.