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The Role of an Attorney for the Child in Custody Disputes

Amid the he said, she said drama of hard-fought child custody and visitation cases, we can sometimes forget another small but important voice — that of the child.

To ensure that custody proceedings focus on the unique interests of the child, family law judges may appoint an attorney for the child (formerly known as a law guardian) to represent the child in court.

The attorney for the child may interview and deal with each parent and their respective attorneys, as well as meet with:

  • School professionals
  • Forensic psychologists
  • Social workers

Still, the attorney for the child is expected to remain independent, advocating and expressing only the wishes of the child-client who is the subject of the dispute.

As clarified in the 2010 bill signed by Governor David Paterson, the attorney for the child is allowed to consult with, to advise and to make recommendations to the child-client. Only when the child may not be capable of making a reasoned decision or where imminent, serious harm could result, however, should the attorney step in to provide a personal opinion or a recommendation that may override the wishes of the child.

Does advocacy by the attorney for the child, or reports by social workers, psychologists or school personnel, for that matter, mean that custody is a done deal? Not if you have competent and aggressive family law attorneys on your side. Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C. will help you stand up for your parental rights and for your kids.

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