“In serving the best interests of children, we serve the best interests of all humanity.”
— Carol Bellamy
Who Are Best Interest Attorneys?
Judges appoint attorneys for children in different cases for different reasons. The American Bar Association identifies the two largest categories attorney for children as follows:
- The Child’s Attorney: Just as when representing an adult, this type of attorney represents the client, even though it’s a child. The child’s attorney may take instruction from the child, represent the child’s position, and advocate for the child’s position.
- The Best Interest Attorney: Different from a child’s attorney, a Best Interest Attorney conducts an independent investigation. Once the investigation is complete and based on that investigation, the best interest attorney advocates for the best interests of the child. A best interests attorney advocates for what the attorney believes to be in the best interests of the child, not necessarily the child’s wishes.
In Maryland, there is a third potential role:
- Waiver Attorney/ Nagle v. Hooks Attorney: In a custody or divorce dispute, medical records or therapeutic records of a child may be a significant source of information and potential evidence at trial. Neither party, however, can use those records for that purpose unless the child’s privilege with the provider has been waived. In these cases, a request has to be made for an attorney to be appointed for the purpose of determining whether such a waiver is in the child’s interests.
Ethical and Confidential Representation
When representing any client, attorneys are obligated to follow strict ethical standards. While the degree to which the confidentiality standard applies is slightly different for a Best Interests Attorney, the attorneys at McCabe Russell will abide to the highest level of the applicable ethical standards for all of their clients – whether they are adults or children.
For an experienced attorney who will fairly and thoroughly represent your child, contact McCabe Russell, PA. To make an appointment in our Fulton (Howard County) office or our Rockville (Montgomery County) office, please call 443.812.1435 or fill out our contact form.