That’s a very unique issue attorneys for children have more and more these days. A court in Oregon is required to appoint an attorney for a child during their parents’ divorce if the child writes a letter and requests an attorney. It’s mandatory in that case.
In other cases, if one parent asks for an attorney for the children, then the judge has the discretion to decide whether or not to appoint one, and oftentimes the judge sees how difficult it is for these two parents and then will just appoint an attorney for the children just because the judge thought it would be helpful in the case.
An attorney for the children meets with the children and talks to them. The attorney shouldn’t try to push them into saying who they want to live with and what kind of parenting plan they want, especially if they’re little kids, and instead should find out about them, kind of hear stories, kind of ask them how they’re feeling about the parenting plan if their parents are already separated. Do they feel like they get to see Mom and Dad enough?
Think about whether or not there is anything you want your attorney to tell the judge. That’s what an attorney can be, a voice for the children. That’s why sometimes they’re very important and valuable in a custody case, to have the judge hear about from their own attorney what they’re thinking and how they’re doing. Children clients, almost in every case, wish Mom and Dad would stop fighting so much. That’s what kids have to say a lot of the time.
Laura Schantz is a family law attorney and mediator practicing in Beaverton, Oregon. To learn more about Laura Schantz and her firm, Schantz Law P.C., visit www.oregondivorceattorney.com.
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