When two adults apply for a dissolution of their marriage and there are children involved, the court will always want to ensure that the needs of these children are front and centre. After all, divorce can often lead to some significant complications, especially if the adults do not agree on how to care for the kids moving forward. The court may see fit to appoint an independent children's lawyer simply to represent those children in certain circumstances. If it appears that this may happen in your case, what do you need to know about this development and how it may affect the outcome?
This type of lawyer will be appointed if a judge has any worry about the welfare of the children or if there are any allegations of family violence. If it is clear that the adults are focused more on their own affairs and less so on the needs of the children, the independent lawyer will step in. Nevertheless, they'll remain distant from the father or the mother and be neutral when it comes to any of their affairs or arguments. Instead, they'll talk directly to the children and will help the judge arrive at a conclusion.
The Role of the Independent Lawyer
Often, but dependent on the child's age, this lawyer will meet directly with the children and provide some counsel. They can hear their input and have the ability to talk with other parties and even issue subpoenas, if necessary. The independent lawyer may want to speak with other councillors or schoolteachers during the investigation if they think that their input could be central to the case.
Appointing the Lawyer
While it may often fall to the court to appoint such a lawyer based on its own worries, it is also possible for an application to be made to the court by one or both of the parents. In any case, the parents are strongly advised not to talk with the children about the case or ask them questions about any meeting with their independent lawyer.
Understanding the Children
While the lawyer will undoubtedly take the children's views into account, they will also assess other factors and the relative maturity levels. Fundamentally, they are not obliged to act in accordance with the child's instructions at any time.
Your Best Approach
Remember, in this situation, it's in your best interests to come to a swift conclusion and ensure that you take your children's needs into proper consideration. Talk with your own lawyer, and they will be able to discuss how the independent lawyer may affect your case.
For more information, contact a local family law office.