If you are considering minor counsel for your case, you might wonder if there are any real benefits for the children involved. While there is some risk that parents might feel betrayed by the child’s ability to represent themselves, there are often countless benefits for the minors who receive this opportunity.
Provides Better Representation: Without minor counsel, children would receive little if any representation during court proceedings. This is because attorneys generally represent the interests of either parent. The courts then become tasked with trying to decide what is actually best for the child. When minors get access to representation, it reduces bias.
Reduces Parental Alienation: Psychology Today describes parental alienation as the result of one parent turning the child against the other. It is sometimes possible for one parent to even convince the child to participate in and believe false allegations of abuse. Independent counsel reduces the influence parents have in these instances, allowing the child a better opportunity to think clearly and tell the truth.
Informs Children: When minors go through family law proceedings, they might not be aware of their rights beyond what parents tell them. Minor counsel changes this. When children know their rights, they are also in a better position to exercise them. For instance, a 16-year-old with abusive parents might get the opportunity to petition for emancipation or to live with grandparents until they become an adult.
Protects Children: When children receive better representation, face fewer opportunities for negative parental influence and get to know what their rights are, they are in the best position to be protected. While not all minor counsel cases lead to ideal results for each party involved, it does improve the chances for the children — and even the parents.
Once the court approves an appointment, the counsel stays on the case until or unless one or more of a few specific things occur. One of the most common reasons is the case coming to a natural close. However, there are instances where the court relieves the counsel of his or her duties or replaces the person with someone else. Finally, once a child becomes an adult or gets emancipated, they no longer need minor representation.