In a family law case, the concept of the “best interest of the child” is not easily defined. There would often be differing views from the two parents who could give a better life for the child.
This is why the court would appoint an independent attorney to represent the interests of the child. As your lawyer would represent you and present your best case, your opponents’ lawyer would do the same. Someone has to stand up for the child.
Your Child’s Independent Attorney
It is a fundamental right to be represented by an attorney, and the judge can decide to assign one to your child if they need more objective or neutral information to make a decree.
For instance, in a custody proceeding, your lawyer will present you as the parent worthy of being the conservator. At the same time, your counsel will show why your ex-spouse will not be a good conservator. You could cite features of their house that could be unsafe for the child.
Your ex-spouse will naturally contend this, as they will also fight for conservatorship. In this case, the judge may appoint an independent attorney to uphold the child’s best interest. These attorneys are called ad-litem attorneys. They have the task to inspect your home and/or the home of your ex-spouse to check the accuracy of the claims.
They will also check on the proposed conservator. Do they really have the best intentions for the child? Are they capable of taking care of the child and addressing their daily needs? The judge understands that there could be a huge gap in what a spouse presents in court as opposed to the real situation, so it is necessary to have an objective view.
The ad-litem attorneys will gather all pertinent information that the judge requires, as well as any details that can possibly affect the welfare of the child. These lawyers will submit a report to the judge along with recommendations which will be part of the basis for the important rulings on custody and visitation.
The Child’s Perspective
It can be hard for you to accept that there would be times when the interest of your child is not in accordance with what you think is best for them. This is the essence of a family case. It is not always a question of intent, as you would always argue that you want the best for your child. Many times, it is a question of capability.
Your ex-spouse or co-parent would also argue that they want what is best, but it would be from their perspective. Thus, it is important to have the child’s perspective represented independently.
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