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How do I present witnesses to testify that it is in my child's best interest for me to have custody?

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed February 2022

Your “witnesses” are people who can testify about your relationship with your child and the way you care for your child. They describe how you meet your child’s needs.

They know you and your child. When they “testify” in court they talk about the things they know about you and your child. And they answer questions. When they testify they swear they are telling the truth.

Some people you can ask to be witnesses are:

  • Teachers,
  • Child care workers,
  • Therapists,
  • Doctors, nurses, medical assistants,
  • Social workers,
  • Police,
  • Family members,
  • Neighbors and friends.

Witnesses can testify about how you provide your child with:

  • a safe and comfortable place to live
  • medical care
  • proper food and clothing
  • the supervision they need
  • help meeting their educational needs
  • daily care
  • emotional support

If the other parent harms your child or puts your child at risk and a witness knows about it, they can testify about:

  •  the other parent abusing you or your child.
  •  the other parent abusing drugs or alcohol.
  •  the other parent exposing your child to domestic violence.
  •  the effects of the other parent exposing your child to domestic violence.

Talk with possible witnesses to see if they have evidence that shows you should have custody.

  • Ask them to come to court with you to testify.
  • If they do not want to go to court, you can send them a "subpoena." If you subpoena them, they must go to court.


You need to know what your witness will say when they testify. Talk to them before you subpoena them.

Read about subpoenas.

See How do I testify it is in my child’s best interest for me to have custody?

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