Though we don’t often think of our children needing legal representation, there are special circumstances where it’s appropriate or even necessary to find an attorney for your child. As a parent, it’s important to know when to provide representation for your children and which options are available to them.
When will your child need a lawyer?
The court can either decide to appoint an attorney for your child, or the parents can request one though the judge does not have to accept. In this circumstance, families can reach out to Social Services or family counselors to help them settle any issues.
There are a few common reasons why a lawyer may need to be appointed for a child:
- Custody battles: When parents disagree about how much visitation or custody they should each have, it often leads to court proceedings. Legal representation can be hired for children to impartially help them through the process.
- Divorce proceedings for parents: Divorce proceedings are often lengthy and complex, especially for parents. If there are special circumstances or the parties involved aren’t on good terms, children involved in their parents’ divorce proceedings may need someone to impartially represent the best interest of any children involved.
- Instances of abuse: If there are any suspicions or instances of abuse toward a child they will be appointed representation to best serve their needs.
In South Carolina, there are a few methods of representation available to children during court proceedings. Here are some of the common ones:
- Guardian Ad Litum, who typically represent very young children and determine what’s best for the child.
- Child Advocacy Attorney or Attorney for Minor Children, who typically represent older children and work with them to determine what’s best for them.
A judge can decide to appoint a lawyer, counselor, or a form of Social Services for the child whether or not the parents approve. Parents are required to follow judge rulings and work with the appointed lawyer without interfering with their work. Parents are also required to pay the legal fees of the child’s lawyer, though in some circumstances where the parents aren’t able to afford it the state may be required to pay instead.
Finding the right representation for you
We know what matters most is providing the best opportunities for your child and protecting them through this process. With sensitive family issues, it’s crucial to find a lawyer who can confidently represent your needs and understands your experience. The Law Office of Sara A. Turner focuses on family law, to help both parents and children through this difficult process with the compassion, understanding, and flexibility it requires. Reach out today to set up a consultation.