Custody cases involve an element not shared by most other court cases… children. It is important not to allow the children’s needs to be swept aside or ignored by adults who are caught up in a heated dispute.
In Oregon, the court has the authority to appoint an attorney who works for the child during a family law or divorce case. An attorney for the children is appointed by the court to protect your child’s best interests in child custody and divorce cases and to assure that a child who is participating in a court battle between his or her parents has a neutral professional to ask questions of and to work with while exploring the child’s perspective on the disputed issues.
A child’s attorney must assure that everyone remains focused on the child’s best interests. It is a child’s attorney’s job to make sure the child’s voice is heard and to help the child as much as possible to understand how their parent’s dispute will change everyone’s lives. A child’s attorney is responsible for investigating the facts and advocating for the child and the child’s best interests.
Often a child’s attorney acts as a catalyst in their parents case. If the case is stuck and going nowhere, the child’s attorney must act to move the case forward. If the parents are ferociously tearing at each other, the child’s attorney must attempt to calm the storm. When everyone is frustrated and out of ideas, the child’s attorney must help everyone think outside of the box and continue to seek workable solutions. The child’s attorney must confront and educate mis-guided parents with regard to their responsibilities to the child. And the child’s attorney must openly examine the situation and then communicate the child’s needs with everyone in a manner they can understand. If the child’s attorney is unable to move the parents towards settlement, then the child’s attorney must see that the trial judge hears all of the evidence in a way that will assist the court in making the best decision possible for the child.
Depending on the age and maturity level of the child client, the child’s attorney may need to educate and assist the child in understanding the legal issues at stake. Yet in other cases the child’s attorney may merely act as the child’s shield, fending off inappropriate behavior by others in the case.
Children have the right to grow up in a safe and enriching environment.
Children have rights! We recognize the needs of children when it comes to their understanding of the custody and parenting decisions made by their parents during divorce. We are especially adept at communicating with children of all ages and in gaining the trust needed to maintain an effective child-attorney relationship. We will develop alternatives and solutions that may not have previously been considered. It is our goal to see that the child’s best interests are kept at the forefront of everyone’s mind during the custody divorce process.
We can help!