Hiring an Attorney to Advocate For Your Child


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By Stacy Francis. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Ten years ago, matrimonial attorney Lauren Friend started her own law firm because she wanted to help people through the worst times of their lives. Her clients see her as their support lifeline, which helps them get through the divorce process as healthily as possible. Apart from working with adults however, Lauren also works with children as an attorney for the child. She chats with Stacy Francis about when an attorney for the child might be needed, the things divorcing parents need to know, including tips about how child support can be modified.

  • An attorney for the child is appointed by the court when there are custody issues in dispute, once it’s determined that the parties cannot come to an agreement. [4:52]
  • Stacy asks how Lauren is able to get the child’s opinion, but also a wider view of the situation. Lauren responds that she gets the child’s view and the reasons for his or her position, but she also speaks with all the treating professionals in the child’s life, such as their teacher, doctor and therapist, in order to get as full a picture as possible. [8:45]
  • In allegations of abuse or neglect, an attorney for the child would be appointed very early in the process. [14:48]
  • Lauren describes how she manages her attorney-client relationship with children. Toward the end of her representation she would have developed a bond with them, she says, and interviews become easier. She makes it clear to them that they will not decide the final custody arrangement, as empowering them to such an extent could cause extremely loyalty or guilt toward one parent. For this reason, she ensures that they understand that there are other factors being considered in addition to their view. [15:17]
  • Stacy says that many listeners don’t realize that the amount of time that your child spends with you can impact the amount that you're entitled to for child support. Lauren explains that the court classes the custodial parent as the one with whom the child spends the most nights. This parent would get child support as well as add-ons. The add-ons are pro-rata based on income. [20:05]
  • Stacy emphasizes that it’s important to know your child’s expenses to make your case for child support. [22:38]
  • In New York state only the first $148,000 of a spouse’s income is considered for child support. Anything over that is discretionary. Lauren advises that it’s always best to work out an agreement with just your attorneys. [24:30]
  • You can go back to court for a modification of child support, custody or visitation if there are substantial changes in circumstances. [25:27]
  • The best advice she can give to divorcing parents, Lauren says, is to try to sublimate your feelings of anger and hostility for the benefit of your children. They are much happier and healthier in two separate happy households. [29:14]
  • The courts take parental alienation very seriously. Judges have been known to switch custody in extreme cases. [29:45]
  • Before you enter into a custody agreement, envision if it would work until your child is 18. Your attorney should also build in some loopholes into the agreement so there is room for modification without returning to court. [32:12]
  • A question to ask yourself before you do or say anything is, will this help or hurt my child? [36:00]
  • Lauren shares advice on how to choose an attorney if you’re thinking about divorce. [37:41]
  • When she represents adults, Lauren is able to give her clients real life examples of how their actions may help or hurt children, due to her experience as an attorney for the child. [40:33]





Find out more about the Second Opinion program


Stacy Francis: Stacy@Stacyfrancis.com

Phone: 212-374-9008

113 episodes