Child custody battles can be quite complicated and emotionally draining. If you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse disagree about custody or visitation, or if you are worried about your child’s safety due to domestic violence or child abuse, third-party attorneys may be brought in to help the court determine what is in the minor child’s best interests.
Although a child may receive legal counsel in a divorce, he/she will not do any of the hiring. The court may appoint a lawyer to serve in three capacities for the minor child: as an attorney, as a representative, or as a guardian ad litem.
The following is an overview of the three categories in more detail:
Child attorney – An attorney is hired to represent the minor child’s best interests, which means he/she must listen to best interests defined by the child. However, child attorneys are not commonplace since children are not always capable of figuring out what is and is not in their best interests.
Child representative – On the other hand, a child representative represents the child’s best interests as defined by the representative. He/she will interview the child’s parents and those close to the child’s life. Additionally, the child representative will also consider the safety and suitability of the child’s environment. Keep in mind, he/she does not submit his/her findings to the court. Rather, the representative provides the parents with a pre-trial memorandum which details what he/she would recommend if the custody case experiences court litigation.
Guardian ad litem – This type of attorney has the same investigative powers as a child representative; however, he/she must report his/her findings to the court following an investigation. The guardian ad litem may be used as a witness during cross-examination.
At Cage & Miles, LLP, we understand how difficult and heated custody battles can be. Our San Diego divorce attorneys can review the circumstances of your case and determine which third-party attorney will be the most helpful.
For more information, contact us and schedule an appointment today.