In many custody cases, an Attorney for the Child is appointed by the Court to represent the child (or children) in a child custody case or in a divorce case involving children. The Attorney for the Child will meet with the child and sometimes meet with each parent. In court, the Attorney for the Child represents the child’s interests. If there is a trial, as with any attorney, the Attorney for the Child can call witnesses and present evidence.
Here are some tips on what to say and how to approach the Attorney for the Child.
#1: Remember the Attorney for the Child is NOT your attorney. Therefore, anything you say to the Attorney for the Child is NOT confidential and can be brought in as evidence. Therefore, you do not want to state any “secrets” to the Attorney for the Child.
#2: What to say to your Child: The Attorney for the Child will meet your child. Before they do, you should let your child know that someone is going to meet with them and talk to them. You do not have to say that it is the “child’s attorney” – the Attorney for the Child will go over that with them.
#3: What NOT to say to your Child: Do NOT tell the child what to say or try to rehearse with your child in any way. Do NOT tell the child that they should tell the Attorney for the Child that they want to live with you. Do NOT “coach” the child. If the Court, the Attorney for the Child or the other parent’s attorney discovers that you influenced the child, rehearsed with them or coached them, this will have a very negative effect on you in your case. Indeed, that could be the only reason why the other parent will be awarded custody.
#4: Present a “clean” and “orderly” house/apartment: If the Attorney for the Child comes to your house/apartment, you want to make sure that your house/apartment is clean. If the child is a baby or a toddler, then make sure the home is childproofed. Remember, first impressions go along way in any case. You want the first impression of you home to be a positive one for the Attorney for the Child.
#5: Questions to answer: It is okay to answer the following questions (or similar ones):
- What school does the child attend?
- How does the child get to school? (bus, walk, you drive him/her)
- What time does school start and end?
- Who takes the child to school?
- What days do you work?
- When do you leave for work and what time do you get home from work?
- What is the child’s doctor’s name, address and phone number?
- What are the names of the child’s teachers?
- What are the names of the child’s friends?
#6: Questions you should NOT answer: You should not answer the following questions (or similar ones). If you are asked these questions, you should tell the Attorney for the Child that you will have to consult with your attorney before answering these questions.
- What did you pay for your house/apartment?
- The other parent says you “work off the books”, is that true?
- How much money do you have in your bank account?
- What kind of retirement funds do you have?
Of course, you should be considerate and friendly when meeting with the Attorney for the Child. Although, you may be nervous, try to be relaxed.
David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. have provided real world advice to their clients, including advice on what to say to the Attorney for the Child. If you have a child custody matter or child custody is part of your divorce, and have questions about what to say to the Attorney for the Child, then contact David Badanes, Esq., today at 631-239-1702, email at email@example.com or visit our web site: www.dbnylaw.com. The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport and Uniondale.
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