Minor's counsel is a non-biased voice for a child in a family law matter. This protects the minor's well-being and does not force a child to take sides with their parents. The primary role is to work toward the child's best interest without concerning the minor with challenging situations during a divorce or contested custody case. Since this professional plays an essential part in determining the child's future, it is crucial to have an excellent understanding of situations in which minor's counsel would be used and how it affects your child custody case.
What is the Job of Minor's Counsel?
Minor's Counsel investigates the child's situation and gathers information about their health, safety, and environment. For example, this professional consults with doctors, family, and other pertinent parties. Counsel also evaluates medical records, schoolwork, and additional information that helps determine the child's best interest.
What is the Need of Minor's Counsel?
In a divorce or a custody case, both parents will have their own attorneys. It is important for the child to have representation as well. Minor's Counsel investigates allegations and facts that are involved with the case. This individual has access to all data related to the child and can interview any person in the child's life.
Can Any Lawyer Represent a Child as Minors' Counsel?
The court must appoint a lawyer to represent the child. However, a parent may request minor's counsel to be selected from a particular group of qualified minor's counsel attorneys. In the end, the court must sign off on this type of request.
Who Pays the Fees of Minor's Counsel?
It is up to the court to determine and order who must cover the fees of minor's counsel. This will be based on the presented evidence. One parent may be forced to pay all fees, or both parties may split the cost.
Once Minor's Counsel is Appointed, What is the Next Step?
After minor's counsel is appointed, the court sends a notification to the lawyer's office. At that point, the attorney sends letters to each party and sends releases to the child's doctor, school, and other relevant sources. If both parents are responsible for covering the fees, a retainer must be paid. Once this is settled, the investigation process begins. Besides speaking with witnesses, it is necessary to schedule a meeting with the minor child. All findings are released on the set court date.
Does the Court Always Side with the Child?
Although a child's preference is part of the equation, it is not the sole basis for the court's recommendation. Minor's counsel must determine the best interest of the child. Specific details are involved during the investigation. If these do not agree with the child's wants, minor's counsel does not need to comply with a child's preference.
Should a Parent Discuss the Case with the Child?
Talking with the child about their child custody case is discouraged. Court cases are challenging for adults and may cause additional stress on a child. It is acceptable to explain that the child has a lawyer who will meet with them. It is important to stress that everything discussed stays between the child and the lawyer. Also, it is vital to explain that the child must be truthful at all times.
Rights of Minor's Counsel
Certain rights are afforded to minor's counsel so that the child's best interest is protected.
- Reasonable access to the child
- Confidentiality at all times
- Ability to monitor parents and anyone involved with the child
- Attend each hearing that pertains to custody, visitation, or similar subjects
- To give statements on behalf of the minor
- Receive and respond to court filings that relate to the minor
In California, minor's counsel plays a significant role in representing a child and uncovering the best outcome for their physical and emotional well-being during a highly contested child custody case.
If you have further questions about minor's counsel, contact our skilled lawyers online or call us today at (626) 340-0955.