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NCJ Number: 156359 Find in a Library
Title: Judicial Interview of Children in Custody Litigation
Journal: Maryland Bar Journal  Volume:27  Issue:6  Dated:(November-December 1994)  Pages:44-46
Author(s): A Dvoskin; L S Jacobson
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 3
Type: Report (Technical Assistance)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Judicial interviews of children in child custody litigation are permitted, but they are complex matters that require a thorough understanding of the impact of a judicial interview of a child and the limits of such interviews.
Abstract: Maryland law specifies that the judge or chancellor may interview a child in a custody case out of the presence of the parties, in the discretion of the court, without the consent of the parties, and with or without the presence of counsel. In addition, a court reporter must record the interview unless waived by parties, and the contents shall immediately be made known to counsel and the parties. However, appropriate interviewer techniques have not been defined. The first consideration should be whether the child is mature enough to express a desire and whether the subjective reasoning for such choices is sound and rational. Interviewers must understand how children conceptualize time and that children are generally self-centered, perceiving themselves as perpetually dependent and in need of parental care. Children also differ from their adults in their perception of their power position; some children will falsify information. The judge should speak informally, explain the presence of the court reporter, and question in the form of a conversation. Judges should use great caution in the interview process and make allowances for the unique expressions and perceptions of a child.
Main Term(s): Juvenile witnesses
Index Term(s): Child custody; Court procedures; Judicial attitudes; Personal interviews
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