Does my divorce hearing testimony for a friend make me liable for any actions my that friend takes?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Does my divorce hearing testimony for a friend make me liable for any actions my that friend takes?

About 2 months ago, I testified in a divorce hearing about a husband’s abusive actions towards my friend. The goal was for him to only have supervised visits with his kids and a psych eval. because of his erratic behavior. which he has yet to follow up on She hasn’t let him alone w/the girls but has now allowed him to come over to the house, take her and them to dinner and now they are at a marriage

conference. Since I testified about his behavior being abusive and now I know about all this happening where she is allowing him more time than what the court ordered, am I liable for anything if I don’t report it to any authorities? I’m concerned if anything bad happens and it’s revealed I knew. I’m also concerned because I’m the only one who testified and so I’m not sure of my legal responsibilities in this matter.

Asked on October 28, 2017 under Family Law, Texas


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You actually don't have any legal obligations under the facts you describe.  The person with the legal obligation is the wife.  The only other person is the court/judge.  The wife has the duty to protect her children.  The judge has a legal duty to make orders that the judge deems in the best interest of the children.  Most orders will say something like this:  "Dad shall have possession or access to the children at all time mutually agreed upon by the parties, and in abence of mutual agreement, then...."  They set out parameters that only kick in if the parties cannot agree on how much acess dad should have.  Most likely, the judge entered a similar order in this case.  This means, that the wife can expand the periods of possession or access---unless a judge has given her an express restriction not to due so. 
The only time you have a legal duty to do anything is if you know the children are being abused.  If you know a child is being pysicially abused, then you do have a legal duty to report it to CPS.  They have an confidential online reporting system.  If you are in doubt, then report.  It's better to err on the side of caution, rather than risk the safety of the child. 

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