Independent Children’s Lawyers in Texas Family Law Cases
In most Texas lawsuits involving parental rights, each parent will be represented by counsel. In some instances, the courts will find it necessary to appoint an attorney to advocate on behalf of the child that is the subject of the dispute as well. Lawyers that provide legal services to children in family law cases play a unique role, and it is essential that anyone involved in a dispute over parental rights understand how they may impact the outcome of their case. If you have questions about the use of independent children’s lawyers in Texas family law cases, it is prudent to consult an attorney as soon as possible. The dedicated Dallas child custody attorneys of McClure Law Group have ample experience handling complex custody disputes, and if you engage our services, we will help you fight for the best outcome for you and your child.Independent Children’s Lawyers in Texas Family Law Cases
The Texas Family Code (the Code) permits the courts to appoint an independent attorney to represent a child’s interests in a family law case. Specifically, the Code dictates that the courts can appoint an amicus attorney or an attorney ad litem in a case affecting the parent-child relationship. Typically, such attorneys are appointed in child custody, adoption, and termination of parental rights cases.
Notably, an amicus attorney’s job is to provide legal services needed to assist the court in protecting a child's best interests, while an attorney ad litem provides legal services directly to the child. An attorney ad litem has a duty to provide a child with competent representation and to keep their communications and information confidential. They also owe the child their undivided loyalty.
Pursuant to the Code, an amicus attorney must advocate for the best interests of the child in question based on their review of the evidence and facts of the case. It's important to note that the child's expressed wishes may not always align with what the amicus attorney believes is in their best interests. With the child’s consent, however, the amicus attorney is responsible for advising the court of the child’s objectives. They must also explain their role to the child in a way that the child can understand and advise the child that they may use any information the child provides to assist the court. The amicus attorney must also be familiar with the American Bar Association's standards for representing children in custody cases. They cannot disclose any confidential communications with the child cannot be disclosed unless they believe that it is necessary to help the court make decisions in the best interests of the child.
The duties of an attorney ad litem in Texas, as outlined in the Code, include interviewing the child, the parties involved in the case, and anyone with knowledge of the child's situation and investigating the facts of the case. An attorney ad litem must also determine the child's wishes and present them to the court, and represent the child in hearings and proceedings. They have a duty to encourage settlement and alternative dispute resolution as well.
An attorney ad litem can be appointed at any stage of legal proceedings, although it is most common for them to be appointed early on, either at the beginning of the case or after a motion requesting their appointment has been filed.Meet With an Experienced Dallas Attorney
The courts will typically employ independent children’s lawyers in Texas family law cases when it is necessary to do so to protect the children’s interests. If you are involved in a family law case in which the court has appointed an attorney to advocate for a child, it is in your best interest to meet with an attorney to discuss what steps you can take to protect your interests. The experienced Dallas family-law attorneys of McClure Law Group understand the importance of protecting children’s interests in family law cases, and if we represent you, we will help you seek the results you and your child deserve. We regularly represent parties in family-law matters in Dallas, Richardson, McKinney, Rockwall, Irving, Fort Worth, Garland, Frisco, and other cities within Dallas, Rockwall, Grayson, Collin, Denton, and Tarrant Counties. You can reach us via our online form or by calling us at 214.692.8200 to schedule a conference.