Child Representation

Advocating for Their Best Interests

Child Representation Lawyers

Representing children is a great privilege that we treat with the utmost care and respect. We ensure that the best interests of our child clients are not lost in litigation games or lengthy court processes.

What Is a Child Representation Lawyer?

Sometimes, a highly contested custody case requires that your child (or children) have their own child representation lawyers. In Maryland, this takes three possible forms: Child Privilege Attorney (“CPA”), Best Interest Attorney (“BIA”), or Child Advocate Attorney (“CAA”). Each of these roles require that the attorney be appointed by court order to represent your child.

Maryland Code, Family Law Article, §1-202 authorizes the court to appoint attorneys to represent children and to allocate the cost between the parties. A lawyer appointed to represent a child is required to exercise ordinary care and diligence in the representation of the child client and to abide by the Guidelines set out in the Maryland Rules of Civil Procedure, Appendix 19-D.

Three Types of Representation

Child Privilege Attorney

This is the most limited role of child representation lawyers. A Child Privilege Attorney is responsible for determining whether your child’s privilege or confidentiality with a mental health professional (such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker/LCSW, licensed professional counselor, or other licensed mental health provider) should remain intact or be waived. If privilege is waived, the mental health provider is permitted to testify, disclose the child’s file, and share information about your child’s therapy and treatment. If privilege is preserved, then the treatment provider can do none of those things in connection with your case. In Maryland, Courts have determined that parents in a contested custody case do not have the ability to be truly objective when deciding whether or not privilege should be waived on behalf of their children. Therefore, pursuant to Nagle v. Hooks, 296 Md. 123 (1983), the Court appoints an attorney to review the case, speak to the provider, and determine on behalf of your child whether or not this privilege should be waived or preserved.

Best Interest Attorney

The Best Interest Attorney role includes the duties of a Child Privilege Attorney, in addition to making an independent assessment of the legal and physical custody arrangement that is in your child’s best interest and advocating for that before the court on behalf of your child or children. If your child has an opinion on where they should live or who should make decisions on their behalf, the Best Interest Attorney is required to inform the Court of your child’s opinion, even if the Best Interest Attorney ultimately advocates for a different position. A Best Interest Attorney will meet with your child; interview you and your co-parent; interview key witnesses; observe your child with each parent; interview and review the records of important providers in your child’s life (educational, medical, dental, psychiatric, psychological); and participate in any hearing, trial, or settlement negotiation on your child’s behalf.

Child Advocate Attorney

The Child Advocate Attorney is appointed when your child has what is called “considered judgment.” A Child Advocate Attorney is typically, though not always, reserved for older tenagers. When a child has considered judgement, a child is of the age and maturity level to have a firm position regarding their own legal and physical custody, along with the ability to communicate and work with their attorney. The main difference between a Child Advocate Attorney and a Best Interest Attorney is that the attorney will advocate for what the child wants, not for what the attorney believes to be in the child’s best interests after a thorough investigation. The Child Advocate Attorney may perform the same duties as a Best Interest Attorney.

Why Choose Z Family Law Firm?

The clients who entrust us with their cases say it’s because of our warm, caring approach that delivers results, and dedication to practicing family law ethically, gracefully, thoughtfully, and compassionately, even when the opposing side doesn’t.

We exist to empower clients to achieve the best version of their next chapter. A family law matter isn’t the end of your story – it’s the beginning of a new chapter where you can reinvent yourself.

It’s our goal to offer compassionate counsel through life’s unexpected challenges, and we strive to achieve it every day in every situation, every case, and every client.

Rockville MD Divorce Attorneys

Related Reading

What you need to know about vaccinating your child if you and your co-parent disagree

Are you’re ready to vaccinate your child against COVID-19 and your co-parent disagrees, or vice versa? Well, the answer largely depends on the custody arrangement you and your child’s other parent have and what forum you are in. Read more to understand your rights.

Read More >

Relocation with Children in Maryland

Every so often, a parent who has primary custody of the children wishes to relocate, either out-of-state, or to another location within the state. This type of situation raises several important concerns.

In this post, we’re going to answer the basic question: under what circumstances can a parent move away with the children?

Read More >
CLOSE

Take Your 
First Step to Your New Beginning

Schedule Your Case Assessment to Explore Your Options

Ready for Your First Step?
Quick Exit