In an effort to protect children from the negative impacts of custody disputes and stresses related to testifying, judges try to avoid putting children on the witness stand (except in emergencies). Alternatively, a judge can speak directly with the child during an interview in the judge’s chambers. This preferred way of taking the testimony in chambers is called an in camera interview (In camera is a Latin term meaning "in chambers".
Expert witnesses are not uncommon in child custody cases, and it is not uncommon for both parties to hire multiple expert witnesses when a child has extensive needs. Getting what you want in a family law case oftentimes rests on expert testimony and other evidence you present in court. In a previous article titled, Psychological Testing and Health Evaluations in Illinois Child Custody Cases, we explained that either party or the court can request that a mental health evaluation be conducted by an expert in the mental health field. At times these mental health experts who perform these evaluations may also be called upon by the court to testify their findings and recommendations.
A “presumed parent” is an individual who is recognized as the parent of a child until that status is confirmed or rebutted in a judicial proceeding. Presumed parentage can be established if any of the following are true:
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