Navigating a highly contested dissolution case is often rough terrain for the parties involved. This situation becomes even more difficult when there are minor children in the mix. More often than not, the children of the divorce become caught in the middle, becoming a pawn in the game of divorce.
This is where Minor’s Counsel will become the key player in this game. There are so many wonderful benefits to your child having their own attorney.
Minors Counsel is an attorney only for your child(ren). They work solely with your child and advocate what is in their best interest. This allows your child to be heard often when their voice is lost, but when it matters most. The attorney for your child will navigate this case on behalf of your child, seeking out what is best for their health, safety, and welfare. Minor’s counsel has the ability to interview any person in your child’s life, investigate all facts or allegations, and take steps to provide the best-case scenario for your child(ren) after the divorce is all said and done.
I know, personally, the thought of minor’s counsel being involved with my children always sounds terrifying. However, I am here to tell you this is not the case. It is almost always beneficial for your child to have minor’s counsel as they are an advocate, just as you are to these children.
A good minor’s counsel will seek resolution in you case when there is no end in sight, often seeking creative solutions to the hard, hard questions that involve your babies.
More often than not, have I seen requests for appointment of minor’s counsel come through for children of all ages. Minors counsel has the ability to fully analyze the court hearing from both sides, with access to all filings by both parties and the ability to interview not only just the child, but the relatives and friends and even medical professionals.
So, I guess the real question becomes how do we get minor’s counsel for our child(ren)? If one parent is requesting minors counsel and there is no agreement, a parent can request the Court appoint one. If both parents agree, they can enter into a stipulation for minor’s counsel. However, only the Judge can appoint one for the child(ren). The cost of said minor’s counsel differs from case to case. The Judge can order one parent to pay for the counsel for the child(ren), it can also be ordered to be split between the two parents, or in dire cases, they can be covered for both parents. Counsel for minors is generally less per hour than your attorney will cost. However, this is often a necessary cost for peace of mind that your child(ren) are being taken care of and advocated for.
Minor’s counsel, although has attorney-client privilege with your child, will work with both attorneys to discuss proactive solutions to child custody and often will share your child’s point of view. This allows your child to be upfront and honest on how they would prefer the time share to go or where they would like to live.
There are many pros to having minors counsel involved in your dissolution, but there are some downfalls as well. This is an additional attorney that you might be ordered to pay for on top of the fees of your dissolution or custody case in general. Minors counsel and your child have attorney-client privilege, so all discussion between their attorney and your child remain confidential. Although, that may be a downfall to some parents, it allows children to speak openly and not fear upsetting one parent over the other. This really allows for your child to speak their preference without backlash.
Overall, the positives of minors counsel far outweigh the negatives, in my eyes and are a truly useful tool in navigating the Court case and the feelings of a minor child.