The Florida Bar

December 20, 1961

In a divorce case where no other witnesses are available, a lawyer's wife may testify in behalf of the lawyer's client to prove her fitness to have custody of her child.

Canon: 19

Chairman Holcomb stated the opinion of the committee:

A member of The Florida Bar requested the opinion of the Committee in a matter in which he represents a woman in a divorce case instituted by her husband, who is attempting to obtain custody of an infant child. His client finds it difficult to obtain witnesses to testify to her fitness to care for the child, but the lawyer's wife, who knows the woman well, can testify from her own personal observation, but has no knowledge of the details of the marriage or anything other than the fitness of the wife for custody of the child.

Under these circumstances, we do not believe there is any bar to the lawyer's wife testifying. Canon 19 does not relate to testimony of a lawyer's wife, but only to that of the lawyer. We believe it would be well, if possible, to obtain other witnesses, but if none are available, then we think it perfectly proper for his wife to testify and for him to argue the credibility of his wife's testimony.

[Revised: 08-24-2011]