Amicus Attorney

Amicus Attorney

Amicus Attorney

An Amicus Attorney is an attorney appointed by the Court whose role is to provide legal services necessary to assist the Court in protecting a child’s best interests rather than to provide legal services to the child.

A judge may appoint an Amicus Attorney to assist the Court in determining what is in the best interest of a child. The Amicus Attorney does not have an attorney-client relationship with the child or the parents of the child. The Amicus Attorney provides legal services to the Court to provide information as to the desires of the child but is not required to advocate for those desires if the Amicus Attorney believes they are not in the child’s best interest.

Duties of an Amicus Attorney

The Amicus Attorney, within a reasonable time after being appointed by the Court, shall:

  • Interview the child in a developmentally appropriate manner, if the child is four years of age or older

  • Interview each person who has significant knowledge of the child’s history and condition, including any foster parent of the child

  • Interview the parties to the suit

  • Seek to elicit in a developmentally appropriate manner the child’s expressed objectives of representation

  • Consider the impact on the child in formulating the attorney’s presentation of the child’s expressed objectives of representation to the court

  • Investigate the facts of the case to the extent the Amicus Attorney considers appropriate

  • Obtain and review copies of relevant records relating to the child that the Amicus Attorney may find beneficial during the investigation process

  • Participate in conducting litigation, including filing pleadings as appropriate and conducting discovery, to the same extent as an attorney for a party

  • Take any action consistent with the child’s interests that the Amicus Attorney considers necessary to expedite the proceedings

  • Encourage settlement and the use of alternative forms of dispute resolution

  • Review and sign, or decline to sign, a proposed or agreed order affecting the child

The Amicus Attorney meets with the child to determine the child’s wishes and objectives regarding child custody are expressed to the Court. However, the Amicus Attorney is not bound by the child’s expressed objectives of representation. The Amicus Attorney shall:

  • Explain the role of the Amicus Attorney to the child and the parent

  • Ensure that the child’s expressed objectives of representation are made known to the Court

  • Inform the child that the Amicus Attorney may use information that the child provides in providing assistance to the Court

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