A divorce is a difficult situation for any two people to have to go through. When children are added to the divorce equation the difficulty and anxiety associated with the process grows exponentially.
Instead of just worrying about their own financial situations the concern transitions towards the wellbeing of their child. It is even more difficult to go through a divorce with a child when the parents aren’t in agreement on the key points of raising a child in separate households: possession, access, visitation, rights, duties and support.
What does an Amicus Attorney Do?
In situations where the parties need a little extra boost to get themselves to a place where agreements may be possible an amicus attorney can be appointed. The amicus attorney’s job is to assist the court in determining what arrangements are in the child’s best interest.
The amicus attorney (as opposed to an ad litem attorney) does not represent the child or either party. In doing so, the amicus attorney looks out for their best interest and acts as the eyes and ears of the judge for the time that the parties are not inside the courthouse. The amicus attorney will assist the court with making decisions regarding where the child should primarily reside, what rights and duties each parent should have and other important issues.
The amicus attorney, as a neutral party, is allowed access to each parent’s home life that ordinarily nobody else would be able to see. The judge has little to no understanding of the parents’ relationship with the child and so the amicus is designed to assist the court in learning more about each parent’s:
-Child rearing style
-Personal Relationship with the child
How does an Amicus Attorney serve the Court?
A judge appoints an amicus attorney via an Order Appointing Amicus Attorney. The Court can appoint the amicus on its own motion or by the motion of either party. Each Court will have a list of attorneys with whom they have the confidence in to appoint as amicus on any particular case. From this list, the judge will randomly select an amicus in most cases unless they believe that a particular amicus would suit a particular case.
The Order will outline the responsibilities of the attorney who is appointed as an amicus. Those responsibilities include:
-Appearing at a litigating attorney, if necessary. If there is ever a court date set by either party to the case, they must provide notice of that date to the amicus attorney as well as the opposing party. The amicus attorney will also review any documents to be filed with the court.
-Request and obtain documents. The amicus attorney can request information and documents from the child’s school or another source that has relevant information.
-Interviewing the Child. In order to present a full picture to the judge as far as the state of the child, the amicus attorney will interview and analyze the responses of the child for the court. The parents will also be interviewed as well as any other person that the amicus believes that the court should hear from before making a decision on any relevant issue facing the child.
Advice for parents if an amicus attorney is assigned to your case
If you are going through a divorce and an amicus attorney has been assigned there are a few pieces of advice that the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC can provide:
-Have your attorney meet with or at least speak to the amicus prior to your meeting with the amicus. It’s not always realistic to have your attorney available to meet with the amicus when they are interviewing you. It’s the practice of our attorneys to always reach out to the amicus prior to a client interview being scheduled. This means that immediately after scheduling a time to talk to the amicus you should contact your attorney and have them reach out to the amicus. This way your attorney can prepare the amicus for the interview and help key him or her into what the main issues of the case are.
-Be aware of the responses you give to the amicus attorney. It is easy to get comfortable when you’re in your own home or at a public place answering questions from the friendly amicus. Don’t get too comfortable. The amicus wants you to be comfortable so that you can open up and speak freely about your relationship with your child. This isn’t about hiding anything. This is about being thoughtful and providing responses that will best ensure a positive result in your divorce case. The amicus will discuss any answer you provide with the court unless you specifically ask them not to.
Other Benefits of having an Amicus Attorney
An amicus attorney can also serve the parties indirectly by assisting them in negotiating through difficult issues with the children. Whether it is working out an “on the fly” weekend period of possession or calming down one side after a later than scheduled drop off of the kids, the amicus can help cooler heads prevail. Finally, the amicus attorney can be available to attend mediation and give each side the reassurance they need to avoid having to go before a judge to decide the case.
Consultations with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC- Always Free of Charge
If you are going through a divorce or contemplating filing for divorce the need for an experienced and effective advocate is extremely high. The lawyers with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC offer consultations six days a week and can answer your questions on your divorce or child custody matter.
A family law case is one where you not only need a lawyer but someone you can trust on your side. Our attorneys represent clients across Southeast Texas and would be honored to do the same for you and your family. Contact our office today in order to learn more about how we can best serve you.
If you want to know more about what you can do, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: “16 Steps to Help You Plan & Prepare for Your Texas Divorce”
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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Spring, Texas Divorce Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with one of our Spring, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
Our divorce lawyers in Spring TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.