When parents divorce, they aren’t the only two people whose lives will be dramatically impacted by the decisions made during divorce proceedings. Their children’s world will also be shaped by what happens in the courtroom or at the negotiating table.
While each parent will have a lawyer who will zealously protect their rights and advocate on their behalf throughout the process, their children also have an advocate. New York courts often appoint attorneys to represent the rights and interests of children during divorce cases.
These court-appointed lawyers have extensive experience in divorce, custody and visitation issues. Once appointed, they advocate on behalf of their clients to establish a custodial arrangement that is in “the best interests of the child.”
If the court does appoint an attorney for your child, here are three things you need to know:
- The attorney will be talking to other people. In order to help determine what is in the child’s best interest, the attorney for the child will want to get a full understanding of the child. They will meet with the child, of course, but they will also gather the perspectives of others who play vital roles in the child’s life. The attorney may conduct interviews with:
- Teachers and educators
- Anyone else who can offer insight into the child’s needs
- The attorney will be talking to The attorney can call witnesses at trial. If your custody and visitation issues are going to be resolved at a trial, you and your lawyer will present evidence and call witnesses who will support your position as to what arrangements should be made for the child’s care. Your spouse will do the same. So can the child’s attorney. He or she can call witnesses and cross-examine the parents’ and their witnesses in an effort to present the court with a perspective untainted by the biases and self-interest of each parent.
- You will pay for the child’s attorney. The attorney is appointed by the court. Though you have no choice in the selection of your children’s attorney, you will pay his/her fees. The Court will apportion the attorney’s fees between you and your spouse.
If you have questions or concerns or are engaged in a custody or visitation dispute, please give Daniel Clement of Clement Law a call at (212) 683-9551 or fill out our online form to arrange for a consultation. We look forward to assisting you.