In most California child custody cases, minors are rarely allowed to testify in court or speak to the judge directly. Because of this fact, the court will appoint minor’s counsel to interview the child about their concerns and their custodial preference.
Minor’s counsel is a neutral voice for the child, without compromising the child’s rights, emotional well-being, or forcing the child to side with one parent or the other. Their role is to consider what is the best interest of the child, while not being bound by emotions that often come with divorce, child abuse, neglect, and other difficult issues often associated with contested child custody or divorce cases
Minor’s counsel only represents the child. If there is more than one child involved, separate counsel for each child may be appointed. The county might pay for the representation if the parents can’t afford to pay themselves but usually the court requires one or both parents to pay the fees. Once assigned, the attorney continues to represent the minor until the child reaches the age of 18. In some cases, the court may choose to end their appointment early.