Question asked on Dec 07th, 2016

Q:  I’m a minor , how can I get to speak to a judge we are in the middle of a fight for custody, but there are certain factors that would help us stay with my mom. Can anyone tell me how I can speak to a judge, since we can’t get a hearing, due to financial problems. Everyday is a struggle. Not only because of the fights, but this is also affecting my younger brother mentally.

A:Short version is “you can’t.”  There are ethical rules about “ex parte” conversations — i.e., one side of a case (or a witness) speaking to the court outside of the presence of the other party.  However, at 16 you are almost certainly in the zone of minors entitled to have input into custody decisions affecting them — the full statutes, including those rules, are posted (with lots of other material) here.  It is possible to arrange for a “child interview” of even younger children in a case, if relevant, through the Family Mediation Center.  But it is unclear how or why your mom “can’t get a hearing.”  Really, she needs to confer with a qualified family law specialist, who should be able to answer all her questions.
Marshal S. Willick
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