A guardian is someone who protects and advocates for someone who is unable to protect themselves either physically or in legal situations. In court, a child may need a guardian to ensure his or her voice is heard. In certain family law cases, it is necessary for a child to have a law guardian who can voice the child’s wishes and protect his or her interests independent of the parents’.
Law guardians are appointed in cases involving child abuse or neglect or when parental rights may be terminated. A law guardian may be appointed for one or several children in the same action. Typically, a law guardian will visit a child at home or at school and may be accompanied by an investigator. The law guardian and investigator will ask the child questions and talk with him or her about the case. This helps prepare the child for court. They are also gathering relevant information about the case. A law guardian may also coordinate expert evaluations of the child, such as mental health evaluations.
The law guardian does not make decisions for the child. He or she will serve as your child’s attorney in the matter. A law guardian does not represent or work for either of the parents or the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P), New Jersey’s child welfare agency. The law guardian’s sole allegiance is with the child, though law guardians tend to favor either the Division’s or the parents’ position. He or she will work to understand the child’s wishes, but must present both the child’s wishes and the child’s interests to the Court. These wishes will be communicated to the court independent of the parent’s wishes. An experienced and skilled law guardian will help the child understand the court process, express the child’s wishes, and advocate on the child’s behalf in court.
If the court has appointed a law guardian to represent your child in a case, you may want to consult with an experienced New Jersey child welfare and child custody attorney. While the law guardian will serve as your child’s advocate, you may need an advocate, too, especially if you are facing allegations of abuse or your parental rights are at stake. A child welfare attorney can assert your rights in court and help you defend allegations of abuse or neglect. An attorney can also ascertain to what extent the law guardian’s statements represent your child’s wishes. This can help ensure the case outcome is fair and protects your child’s best interests.
If you have questions about law guardians, Williams Law Group, LLC is here to help. The experienced attorneys at Williams Law Group, LLC can help you with your child welfare matter, making sure your child’s best interests are protected. Located in Union, New Jersey, Williams Law Group, LLC provides compassionate and dedicated legal services to Union, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties, and the surrounding areas. Our knowledgeable attorneys handle divorce and family law, child custody, and child abuse/neglect cases. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation and ultimately get you connected with an experienced New Jersey divorce and child custody attorney.