RULE 8.13 IN CHAMBERS INTERVIEW OF CHILD IN CUSTODY OR VISITATION CASE
(a) Findings. If the district court or the parties consider the possibility of an in chambers interview of a child, then the court must make and state on the record its preliminary findings concerning whether the child's best interest is served by conducting an in chambers interview and whether the child is of sufficient maturity to form an intelligent preference.
(b) Parents' Consent. If the parents consent to the interview being in chambers, or otherwise waive their own presence, the judge may proceed with an in chambers interview.
(c) Presence of Counsel. If one or both parents object to being excluded, the district court must consider whether the parents want counsel present. This consideration should include whether to allow counsel to be present, allow counsel to question the child, or allow counsel to submit questions to be asked. Whether the district court allows the counsel to participate in the questioning or submit questions is within the district court's discretion. If no objection is made regarding this issue, the parties waive objection to the issue on appeal. If the judge proceeds with an in chambers interview without counsel present, the reason for counsel's exclusion must be stated on the record.
(d) Presence of Court Reporter. The district court must consider on the record whether either or both parents request that a court reporter be present. If a request for a court reporter is made, the court reporter must be present and the interview must be recorded, otherwise the parties waive objection to the issue on appeal.
(e) Access to the Record by Parties or Counsel in Custody/Visitation Disputes. When a parent intends to appeal a custody or visitation decision and the district court has previously held an in chambers interview with the child or children, and a transcript of the proceeding was taken either by order of the district court or by request of the parties, the transcript must be provided to the parties upon request and payment of costs. If no appeal is taken, it is within the district court's discretion whether to allow the parties access to the transcript.
Rule 8.13was adopted, effective ______________.
In order to provide a proper balance of parental due process rights with a child's right to be heard, these guidelines are for district courts to use when planning to conduct an in chambers custodial or visitation child preference interview.
Sources: Joint Procedure Committee Minutes of _______________; Ynclan v. Woodward, 2010 OK 29; Oklahoma Supreme Court Rule 1.33(f).
Cross Reference: N.D.C.C. &S& 14-09-06.2.