In most California divorce and child custody disputes, judges avoid involving minor children in hearings at all costs.
Therefore, if you are involved in a high conflict custody and visitation case, courts may appoint private counsel to advocate for your children without compromising their legal rights, emotional health or parental relationships.
What does minor’s counsel do?
Minor’s counsel is independent of your legal team or that of your spouse. Lawyers that represent minors during custody cases seek to discover facts related to the children, then use the collected information to determine the children’s best interests. Minor’s counsel will conduct interviews with children, parents, doctors and therapists and evaluate pertinent medical and school records.
What rights does minor’s counsel have?
To effectively represent their clients’ best interests, minor’s counsel retains specific rights including:
- Access to the minor and minor’s records
- Right to seek relief on minor’s behalf
- Notice of proceedings that may affect the minor
- Rights to make court filings, appear in court and make statements on behalf of the minor
- Ability to monitor anyone involved in the case to ensure minor’s rights remain protected
As the parent of a child with an appointed attorney, you must comply with California Rule of Court 5.242, which allows for private meetings between your child and the minor’s counsel. Additionally, your child’s lawyer must maintain confidentiality and may notify the court of the minor’s wishes pertaining to custody.
If you are going through a contentious divorce and child custody battle, it is important to know and understand the role of a minor’s counsel during proceedings in a California court.