Going through a divorce, especially with children, usually results in the need to get a family lawyer. In getting an attorney for family law, some cases require the court to appoint an attorney on behalf of the children.
Parents or guardians may also prefer that the court pick an attorney for family law and decide on the case. A court-appointed family attorney gives a neutral stance and a much more objective view of the situation, which is why some courts will appoint an attorney.
A lawyer will be labeled as court-appointed when the court in charge of the case picks a family lawyer to assist in the legal proceedings. They typically have an extensive background in family law.
The arrangement of a court-appointed family lawyer is beneficial for both parties as the parents can leave the decision to the court without getting their emotions in the way of the decision-making. As for the child, they can have a favorable position, which the family attorney that the court appoints will decide on their behalf.
Identifying a Court-Appointed Family Law Attorney
Different types of lawyers will be assigned by the court whenever they appoint a lawyer for your legal case. It will help understand this legal arrangement by knowing which lawyer
suits the need. This way, you can make the appropriate actions towards having a court-appointed family lawyer.
1. Amicus attorney
The first type of court-appointed family attorney is called the Amicus attorney. This family lawyer focuses on protecting the best interests of the involved child. While they may not necessarily provide legal services, the Amicus attorney seeks the most ideal arrangement for the child, particularly in guardianship.
They will only represent what is the best option for the child. An Amicus attorney does not have a client. What they do instead is act as an extension of the court when it comes to legal cases. The Amicus attorney may help the court in deciding which is best for the child and not necessarily for the personal wishes of the child.
2. Attorney ad litem
Meanwhile, the Attorney Ad Litem establishes some form of attorney and client relationship for the child. The arrangement enables a more complete and exclusive representation for the child, giving them the necessary legal services the child requires.
An Attorney Ad Litem will need to pass certain guidelines before they can be assigned to a case. At times, the judge will appoint an Attorney Ad Litem to advocate for the child’s welfare. In terms of fees, the parents of the child will typically be the ones to split the expenses of paying for the Attorney Ad Litem in representing the child, such as in cases of custody.
3. Guardian ad litem
In some cases, the guardian at law or guardian Ad Litem is the chosen court appointment for a family lawyer. This option typically happens when the child is a minor. The guardian at law acts as a third party in determining the best decision for the child who is not yet at a deciding legal age.
What the guardian Ad Litem does is act as an investigator of possible solutions that will work best for the child involved in the case. They could be paid staff or volunteers that seek to provide for the best interests of the child. The Juvenile or family court will be the one to select a guardian at law that can best serve the child in their legal case.
Conditions for a Court-Appointed Lawyer
One of the common questions about family legal cases is can you get a court-appointed lawyer for family court or not. Typically, the court will decide on the case and will cover any of the following situations:
Requesting the court to decide guardianship
One of the common reasons for a court-appointed lawyer is when the parents of the children specifically made a request. At times, both parents may not settle amicably on guardianship. Thus, needing the court to intervene on behalf of the parents and make a decision regarding guardianship.
This helps mediate both parents with opposing views and decisions regarding the guardianship of the child. If you have a partner and want a more rational decision regarding guardianship, you can approach the court to do them on your behalf.
Another person requests a guardian appointment
Aside from parents, other people who are concerned about the welfare of the children may request the court to appoint a guardian. This is done to keep the interests of the child protected, especially if the parents are no longer able to pursue the case.
Situations wherein the parents abandon their child or the parents prefer to assign another guardian can request a court-appointed family lawyer. The representative guardian will be the one to request for the court to appoint a lawyer and take on the case.
The child asks to appoint a guardian
There are also situations when the child requested to have a guardian appointed to them. Most of the time, the child might still be a minor. Thus, requires the court to appoint a family lawyer that can evaluate the case and make a decision on who will be the suitable guardian.
While the child is still a minor, they can still request for the court to appoint a family attorney. This usually happens when the child wants to make guardianship more objective. The child may not have a decision yet as to which parent they would like to take guardianship of and prefers the court to decide on the matter objectively.
Termination of parental rights
In worse cases, the rights of the parents are effectively removed by the court. The termination can be due to various reasons – either death, criminal offenses, medical incapacity, or other causes that the court determines. Without parental rights, it will best serve the child to have a court-appointed family lawyer represent them.
The court may have been the one that decided on terminating the parent’s rights due to various reasons. In this case, some courts will outright decide to appoint a family lawyer to deliberate the guardianship and other legal concerns.
Court-Appointed Attorney Options
Once your legal needs match any of the mentioned situations, you can connect with organizations or professionals adept who have extensive knowledge of court appointments. Among the options you have can either be seeking help from community legal aid or a private family lawyer to assist you in your case.
Community legal services
Legal aid is available in the community. Though, this will depend on the state or locality where you reside. Most community legal services, however, are available to the public. They will help you in getting a court-appointed family lawyer onboard for your case. The advantage of going to community legal services is that most of the time, the legal services could be available for free or require minimal charge only.
Seek legal advice
A more viable option would be to seek an attorney for family law that can assist you in your case. These private legal services can help you understand why and how the court will be appointing a lawyer.
Some courts may decide that a private family lawyer is best to manage the case. Private legal services provide a more complete and extensive examination of the case – whether it’s custody, child abuse, or termination. They can decide on the best interests of the child and protect them.
Also, you may have other questions that the appointed family lawyer from the court may not be able to address. This can be due to the limited scope of their legal services. Or they may only represent the child’s best interest and it is the sole focus of any legal advice they can impart to involved parties. Thus, it’s advisable to have a private family lawyer for a more comprehensive take on your case.
Whether it’s custody, guardianship disagreements, termination of parental rights, child abuse, and many other legal scenarios – a family law attorney can take a more substantial view and provide complete legal service.
If you’re looking for a family law attorney in Brandon, FL, Marina Taylor is an expert Brandon divorce lawyer. Her experience with various divorce arrangements can help provide proper legal advice and recommendations on how you can have the court appoint a family lawyer. As a reputable attorney for family law, she can aid in the decision-making for you to come up with a proper resolution to your legal family issues