Jane Doe can be a fictional divorcée whose plight will sound acquainted to most divorce Lawyers. Her spouse, John Doe, had frequently and flatly lied in attaining Key household care of Jane's younger daughters. He claimed to Cook dinner the majority of their daughters' foods, wash their outfits, go through to them... the fabricated checklist went on and on. Several witnesses could contradict him because he maintained a convincing façade for family and friends. The only real third-party witnesses who understood the reality were the parties' daughters, and Jane Doe's attorney declined to provide the young women' testimony. Her legal professional explained testimony from "kids jscottbennettattorney.com is normally inadmissible."
Jane Doe, like many divorcing dad and mom, could have dropped custody due to the fact her legal professional was unaware of latest legal developments opening the doorway for little one testimony. In 2010 the Washington Supreme Court docket's feeling in Point out v. S.J.W., a hundred and seventy Wn.2nd 92 clarified that youngsters are presumptively capable to testify. As the Courtroom wrote: "A 6-year-aged youngster... can be far more proficient to testify than an adult in the specified situation; no courtroom should presume a baby is incompetent to testify primarily based on age on your own... [W]e maintain that courts need to presume all witnesses are capable to testify irrespective of their age." The Court buttressed its view with equivalent federal law.
At a 2011 Family members Law Evidence Continuing Lawful Education Seminar in Snohomish County, commentator Karl Tegland said witnesses above the age of 4 are likely to outlive competency troubles in Washington. An audience member responsively chortled that no Snohomish County relatives regulation "commissioner would leave an attorney that has a shred of dignity" Should the attorney attempted to post a declaration from a youngster that age. Other attendees shared the vocal viewers member's reservations about little one testimony. Noticeable simple and general public plan fears have provided area courts and practitioners good purpose in order to avoid youngster testimony, particularly in spouse and children legislation hearings wherever get-togethers post evidence by declaration.
Nonetheless, the S.J.W. situation, federal regulation, and Tegland's comment advise the perceived worth of kid testimony is conquering a lot of Individuals worries in other venues and jurisdictions. Eric Johnson, a Utah legal professional, wrote the next in protection of the kid depositions he conducts: "The actual reason individuals don't desire young children deposed... is mainly because youngsters, by their advantage of staying youthful, and therefore inexperienced and naïve, Have a very ton harder time being clever and evasive. People that don't desire youngsters deposed object because a Kid's testimony rather often has genuine evidentiary worth which is damaging to the case of people who object to the child's deposition."
For improved or even worse, attempts to supply the testimony of youthful youngsters are coming. Divorce attorneys in Snohomish County and in the course of Washington State must be prepared.