By Pat Loeb
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Custody disputes between divorcing parents are often the only brush with the justice system many people have, and for children caught in the middle, it can be traumatic. Now, there’s an effort to ease the strain.
The Family Law Section of the Pennsylvania Bar Association has produced this video featuring child actors, but real judges, to demonstrate how to question children in custody cases without increasing their stress.
A child in the video asks, “why do I have to go to this stupid court thing?”
A judge tells a child, “I have to make sure I know exactly what you want me to know. Is that okay with you?”
The child responds, “Yeah.”
Section Chair Dan Clifford says it fills a need: “There doesn’t appear to be anything — even nationwide — in terms of instruction tools for judges, particularly new judges that have no prior experience interviewing children and on day one they’re basically being told ‘well, you’ve got to interview a 7-year-old on where they might want to reside.”
The video will be distributed to judges, lawyers and families across the state.