Learn How a Child Advocate Attorney Articulates the Wishes of Your Children
It can be frustrating when the attorney for the child is articulating a position on behalf of the child that the parent does not feel is in the child’s best interest. The important thing to remember is that the attorney for the child is duty-bound to articulate the child’s wishes, whether they are in the child’s best interest or not. However, there are some exceptions to this duty. Most common, when a child is prevented from articulating her or his desires, the attorney for the child can substitute judgment for the child. Situations in which the attorney is permitted to do this include when the child is a toddler and does not speak in full sentences, when the child suffers from a disability and is unable to articulate her or his wishes, or when the child cannot appreciate the circumstances.
The other common exception wherein an attorney for the child can and should substitute judgment is when the child’s wishes could result in imminent harm to the child if adopted by the court. To illustrate, the child’s attorney can intervene if the child desires to remain in the custody of a parent who is engaging in unsafe and risky behavior, or if the child has previously been harmed in the custody of the other parent.