In Frederick, custody and divorce lawyers may request that the child(ren) be appointed their own lawyer. This is true in all Maryland family law courts.
What Is A Child’s Attorney?
A child’s attorney was formerly called a “guardian ad litem” and there was no special training or credentials except that it be a lawyer acceptable to the court. Today, the Maryland Rules dictate the requirements of an attorney to qualify as a child’s attorney. Those Rules further acknowledge the different types of “child’s attorneys” and the respective obligations of those lawyers.
Not all cases will involve a child’s attorney. In fact, only a small percentage of custody and divorce cases are truly and fully “contested.” An even smaller percentage of those involve a child(ren)’s attorney. There are several reasons for that.
First, money is an issue. Frederick divorce and custody lawyers cost money. If you have a children’s attorney, you are paying for your attorney and the child’s attorney. Okay, sometimes you may pay ½ or a greater/lesser percentage than the other parent. Also, in some cases, the court may pay some or all of the fee for the child’s attorney, but not often! If you request a children’s attorney be prepared to pay.
Second, control is an issue. Speaking as a Frederick custody and divorce lawyer, the employment/appointment of a child’s attorney always carries a modicum of risk. You may be winning a case and if there is a new attorney placed in the mix, that can all change. It can also have the opposite effect. A parent can move from zero to hero when a child’s attorney gets in the mix. Personally, with some significant exceptions, I don’t want a child’s attorney if my case is going well without one.
Timothy Conlon, Esquire for The Custody Place.
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