What Does a Child Advocate Attorney do in San Diego in 2013?
A child advocate attorney works at protecting the rights of a minor in legal cases relating to child custody, child visitation, paternity, legal separation, divorce, abuse or neglect or certain other factors. The term used more commonly in San Diego Superior Court is “Minor Attorney”. The Minor Attorney must be qualified and appointed in individual cases. The job and role of the Minor Attorney is to act in the best interests of the minor and to advocate for the minor and to provide legal representation for the minor. The appointment of Minor Counsel may be agreed upon by the parents in a paternity, legal separation or divorce or the San Diego Superior Court Judge will appoint even over objections of the parents. It is not uncommon for the Court to order each party to pay one half of the fees for this legal representation.
In certain circumstance a child advocate attorney may be appointed by the court. Instances are, among others, when a Judge needs facts and believes the only way to obtain true and accurate information:
- A minor is abused or neglected or molested or there are allegations of such
- Child custody proceedings are contested and considered “high conflict”
In San Diego, there are specific requirements for Minor Counsel. These include education and experience. In general, for example, a child advocate attorney is particularly trained to represent minors through special courses in issues relating to juvenile and family laws. The attorney can be certified in child welfare law by the National Association of Counsel for Children (NACC). For certification attorneys should have at least three years of practice experience, have completed at least 36 hours of education courses in child welfare law, and have devoted 30 percent of their working time in the preceding three years on child welfare. The prospective candidate is also required to demonstrate proficient written and verbal legal knowledge in this specialized facet of law. Again, this is different in San Diego.A Fundamental Facet
It is beyond this though. The child attorney must care. Certainly an attorney who obtains this certificate is going to care and that is just a pre-requisite to have before even contemplating pursuing this certificate or being appointed as Minor Counsel. A lawyer who wants to work with children must want to perform at their best and insure the safety of the child is carried out. Someone who just wants to go through the motions should not be working on cases such as these.
Some of the varied responsibilities of a child advocate attorney are:
- Conducting investigations
- Participating in court proceedings
- Collection of relevant information including records pertaining to the child and its parents
- Requesting hearings
- Accepting notice of court documents
- Presenting evidence in court
- Determining the wishes of the child and presenting it to the court
- Making suitable recommendations and suggestions to the court
Doppelt and Forney, APLC is a family law firm which practices in San Diego. This committed legal entity provides all manner of legal services in issues relating to family law. The firm represents clients in child parental abduction cases, issues of child custody, visitation rights, and child support. It offers a free preliminary 30-minute virtual consultation with no obligation.