Where are the Children During a Family Law Trial?

child looking off into the distance

Parents may sometimes spend a full day in the courthouse during their family law trial. In some cases, a trial may last multiple days. This leaves many parents wondering where their children should be during their hearing and whether the children should be with them when making court appearances.

Courthouses are public buildings, so children are always welcome to enter the courthouse. However, it’s recommended that parents make alternative childcare arrangements and that the children not be at court hearings. If you have a court hearing, it will be very difficult for you to concentrate on what the Judge is saying and what witnesses are saying if you are also trying to watch your children at the same time. Furthermore, it’s typically not a good idea for the children to be in a room where they could be hearing about conflicts between their parents or hearing potentially harsh words between the parents. Many judges do not believe that children should be exposed to the issues and arguments about family issues that come up in the courtrooms and will ask children who are witnessing the trial to leave the room.

Some counties in Oregon will provide free childcare options for parents who are in the courthouse. For example, CourtCare in Multnomah County offers childcare services for children ages 0 to 6 at no cost to parents, in Room 214 of the Multnomah County courthouse. Parents can learn more about CourtCare by calling the Program Coordinator at 503-988-4334.