The Florida Bar

Ethics Opinion

Opinion 61-31

December 20, 1961
Advisory ethics opinions are not binding.
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.


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.