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I'm a 13 year old son. I'd like to be in court or infront of a mediator, how could I?

Des Plaines, IL |

As I stated I'm a 13 year old brother and son. My sister is 11 years of age. Recently my father and mother have been going to court saying "we'll our son said _____" "yeah well ____ said ___" and I believe I have caused most of this and neither of my parents believe that I should have my say. It's gotten to the point were my step dad yelled at me because he believed my dad and I were trying to prove theirs flies inside our home so we can tell a judge. I would like to know if their is someway my sister, step dad, mother, father and I could all see a mediator or a judge before October of this year when one parent gets to have full custody an the other sees us every other weekend. They think I can't take the instensity of court and lawyers. I feel like I've never had a chance.

Attorney Answers 4

  1. You can ask your parents if you can have your own lawyer called a Guardian Ad Litem. One or both of them can ask the court to appoint one on your behalf and your sisters to represent you in the case. Other than that you can only talk to the judge if the judge agrees to talk to you. That is not always the case. I hope this helps.

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  2. If your parents will not ask that a guardian ad litem be appointed on your behalf you can write a letter to the judge asking for one and explaining that you want to talk to the court, that you went on this website, and that the attorneys on the website told you the way to talk to the court was to ask for a guardian ad litem. You can say why you want to talk to the court.

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  3. In order to be heard by the court, your father's attorney needs to request an incamera (private) examination by the court. Some but not all judges will speak to children during the course of legal proceedings. Keep in mind that children do not have a strong say in where they wish to live. Their best interests are seriously considered. If you wish a voice in this litigation, a special attorney might be appointed to interview you and the parties as well as others, but children actually testifying in court is frowned upon. Custofy cases are always stressful and expensive. As a 13 year old, your parents should be keeping you out of this mess. They are sharing too much of the details with you.

  4. Two big points, here: 1) a mediator will be, or already has been, assigned to this case and will meet with the parents before the October deadline to deal with the parenting schedule stuff, 2) if you're not happy with the way things are going, there is a way you can be heard.

    First, in every case where the parents cannot agree on issues of custody (decision-making power over kids lives -- like, deciding where you'll go to school, when you'll go to the doctor, etc.) and schedules, the court automatically sends the parents to a mediator. Mediators talk with parents; but usually don't talk with the kids. That's us the way it usually works.

    For your voice to be heard in court you'll either have to talk with the judge directly (one of your parents would have to ask the judge to do that), or you could have a representative appointed for you. The representative could convey to the judge your concerns or could ask for the judge to speak with you, directly.

    To get the representative, either your Mom AND Dad will have to agree to it (and it'll cost a bit, too) or ONE of them will have to raise the issue with the judge. Courts don't routinely assign counsel or guardians ad litem for children in custody or visitation proceedings. Appointment of counsel or guardians is reserved for those cases in which both parents request the appointment or the court finds that appointment is necessary in light of the circumstances of the case.

    At this point, technically, you are not a party to the case (the case has two parties: Mom and Dad). There is a rule, however, that says when there are other parties whose interests may be affected by the case, those other parties have a right to "intervene" in the case. The law that say you may be able to intervene is 750 ILCS 5/2-408 (follow the link, below). Specifically, that says that " . . . ANYONE shall be permitted as of right to intervene in an action: . . . when the representation of the applicant's (that would be you) interest by existing parties is or may be inadequate and the applicant will or may be bound by an order or judgment in the action.

    That part of the law sounds like it fits you to a "T."

    So, there is a third way you could (possibly) obtain a representative: by sending the appropriate application to the judge asking that a representative be appointed for you so that your voice may be heard.

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