Court

Rhode Island Divorce Attorney Christopher Pearsall on Minor Children in the Courtroom

This is a tip that many mothers are not going to like.  Unfortunately things that are true aren't always popular.  Whether you go to family court for a divorce or another family court related matter you should do this.  Here it is.  Leave your children at home. Yes, that's correct.  Unless your minor child needs to be at the court to potentially talk to the judge and provide the child's preference on which parent he or she wants to be placed with, then leave your child at home.  All too often I see people bring babies and young children to the court and into the courtroom.

I understand that not everyone has family nearby.  I understand that not everyone has money to pay for a baby sitter.  Yet there are things in life that we have to deal with and somehow we get by.  If we're starving we find a way to get food.  If we have no roof over our child's head we find a shelter or place to go so that there will be a protection from the elements.  These things are much more tragic to deal with in comparison to finding a way to go into the courtroom for your family court matter without a stroller, cookies, toys, bottles, diapers and . . . . yes . . . a baby!   A court of law is not a place for a baby or a minor child who does not know that he or she must be quiet or cannot turn on their sound effects space toy or crying baby doll in the courtroom.

It never fails that on a weekly basis a parent will do this.  So what's the big deal, right?  Well, it's a big deal to the judge, the attorneys and the other people who are hear for their cases.  Why? Because family court is a place of respect.  If it's not your turn to address the court then you should be silent.  Invariably what happens is a parent will bring in a baby or small child who will talk out loud or cry and wail, or kick the seat in front of him or her while the court is conducting its duties of the day.

Though by and large Rhode Island Family Court Judges are fairly tolerant of children, sometimes this is not the case.  I have seen judge's fly off the handle at a child in the courtroom wailing at the top of it's lungs so the judge can't be heard and the court stenographer is unable to hear the judge or take down what the Judge, Attorneys or Witnesses are saying.

Let me tell you that a judge's mood on any particular day is important to the decisions he or she makes.  It makes all the difference in the world to the attorneys and the people whose cases are coming before the court if the Judge has started his day in a bad mood because someone brought in a child who disrupted the flow of his cases and his ability to get his work done.  Not only might the judge consider it disrespectful, but the litigants in other cases before that judge might have to deal with a very angry judge whose mind may no longer be as open to the arguments for their clients as it once was. 

In essence, one crying child has affected the lives of everyone who is going before the judge on that day.  It may mean the difference of a mother keeping placement or losing her child or it may cause the judge to act unfavorably on a motion that on any other day he or she might grant.

The affect of children in the courtroom should not be underestimated.  Nor should the effects it has on the children be underestimated.  In family court fights break out, judge's yell, attorneys yell, sheriff's handcuff people and take them off to prison. It may be family court, but make no mistake, it is often very tragic, traumatic and even violent.  For the benefit of those who must be in the family court, and for the benefit of the children, think twice and leave minor children at home.

Authored by:

Christopher A. Pearsall, Esquire
PEARSALL LAW ASSOCIATES
571 Pontiac Avenue
Cranston, RI  02910
Phone:  (401) 354-2369

Attorney Pearsall's practice is focused almost exclusively in the areas of Divorce and Family law.

CALL (401) 354-2369 now to schedule for your low-cost, no obligation legal consultation!

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