The Children’s Law Center of Connecticut works to protect indigent children involved in their parents’ family court cases by providing high-quality legal representation and advocating for policies that advance the well-being and best interests of the children. Through its work representing children, CLC seeks to achieve the most stable, safe and beneficial arrangement possible for children who are caught in the middle of a family crisis, such as a custody battle, divorce or other chronic family conflict.
The cases CLC takes on are complex, lengthy
and characterized as high-conflict.
Threatened by the possibility of losing their children, parents will fight hard and use every means available to them, often inadvertently to the detriment of their children. This creates the necessity to have trained professionals speak to children’s unique needs and interests in high-conflict family court cases.
LEGAL REPRESENTATION FAQ
Why might a child need an attorney?
- When separated parents cannot agree about the arrangements for the children, such as where they should live or how much time each parent should have with them
- When there are questions and risk factors in the case, such as parental substance abuse, domestic violence, mental illness or child abuse or neglect
- When the case has gone on for a long time without agreements that work
- When children are suffering from the high level of conflict between parents
- When children have special needs and the parents cannot agree on how those needs should be met
What do attorneys who represent children do?
The Court may appoint a lawyer to act as the Guardian ad litem (GAL) or the Attorney for the Minor Child (AMC). A GAL represents to the court what is in the child's best interests, and an AMC acts to represent the child's best wishes. The younger the child, the more likely it is that the lawyer will be appointed as a GAL rather than as an AMC.
The lawyer creates an independent investigation of the matter by meeting with the child and the child's parents. The lawyer will also gather additional information that may be helpful by reviewing court documents and speaking with teachers, doctors, extended family members or anyone else who may have relevant information.
How is a CLC attorney appointed to represent a child?
A parent can file a motion as part of an existing case to ask the judge to appoint "counsel for the minor child." The judge then decides whom to appoint, although it may be possible to ask for CLC specifically. Judges may also appoint a lawyer without a request from the parent if they feel it would be beneficial to protect the child's best interests, which may not be the same as the parents'.
Is there a cost for CLC's Legal Representation services?
For low-income families, there is no cost.