Divorce consultation policy for children
Please do not bring children under 18 years of age with you to your divorce and child custody consultation with us unless they are too young to understand what is being discussed (such as an infant who does not speak yet). Often the issues we discuss during these consultations are emotionally sensitive in nature and can be damaging for children to overhear. One of the pivotal factors courts consider in deciding who should receive custody is whether a parent is involving children in court issues and badmouthing the other parent around them.
Not only that, court rules and orders usually prohibit parents from badmouthing the other parent or discussing case issues in the presence or hearing of their children. If you bring your children to your divorce consultation, they will likely hear bad things being said about the other parent and be exposed to adult issues. If that happens, you may find yourself in trouble with the court. It does not matter that the bad things said about the other parent are true. Courts do not want parents putting kids in the middle of divorce and custody cases period. If the Court finds you violated this rule it may hold you in contempt of court and sentence you to jail, fines, having to pay the other side’s legal bills, and losing custody of your children. We do not want that to happen to you.
We understand that sometimes your children may be a witness to something in your case that they told you about. You then want us to meet with them and use that information in your case. Generally the court does not want to have your own divorce or custody lawyer meeting with the children. If you believe someone needs to interview the children, we can request that the Court appoint an independent attorney to represent and interview them, a child custody evaluator, a Police or child protective service caseworker, or the judge him or herself. It is generally best that we discuss this issue privately with you first before involving your children.
We are not able to provide daycare services so ask that you please make appropriate childcare arrangements beforehand (if your children are young enough that they need to be watched by someone). We do not mind if you bring infants in to your meeting with us as long as they are young enough not to understand what is being discussed. We have children ourselves and understand balancing work/life responsibilities and making sure kids are properly cared for can be challenging at times. We hope you understand this policy is ultimately for your own benefit and protection (as well as your children).
As with any rules in life, there are exceptions. If the court has specifically appointed an attorney as a “Guardian ad Litem” for a child then it is appropriate to bring the child to meet with their Guardian ad Litem attorney. Or if the legal matter you are meeting with us about has nothing to do with your child or their other parent or guardian then it may be appropriate to bring them to the meeting.
If you have any questions about this policy or whether it is appropriate to bring a child to your consultation, please let us know in advance so we can discuss and figure out the right solution. If you need to reschedule an appointment because you are having difficulty with childcare arrangements please let us know and we will try to accommodate you as best we can. We can be reached at 855-254-2600.