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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.

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Attorney answers 4

Posted

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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Judy A. Goldstein

Judy A. Goldstein

Posted

The Guardian ad Litem is not the child's attorney. The GAL will speak to the children but reports to the court what is in their best interests which may or may not be what the children wish. An attorney for the child will advocate for the child, regardless of best interests, ACs have been rarely used in recent years.

Peggy M. Raddatz

Peggy M. Raddatz

Posted

I meant to say " your own lawyer to talk to." No need to explain to me. I do a lot of this work and get appointed also.

Posted

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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Gary L. Schlesinger

Gary L. Schlesinger

Posted

no she cannot write a letter to the judge. that will not accomplish her goal. she needs to convince the parents to stop fighting. that won't happen. then convince dad to file a petition and have dad ask the court to appoint. ex parte communications from a person, let alone a child, are never good. i cannot believe any lawyer would tell a child to do this.

Judy A. Goldstein

Judy A. Goldstein

Posted

It is completely inappropriate for anyone, especially a child, to write a letter to a judge. Ex parte communications are not acceptable in Illikois and I would assume they are not acceptable anywhere else in this country.

Heather Morcroft

Heather Morcroft

Posted

In juvenile court in Florida, and less so in family court but to some degree, the judges accept letters from children indicating that they would like to speak and have been unable to make that request heard in any other fashion. In juvenile court, the children are themselves parties, and yet they do not always have a representative, even though the standard is that they are all required by statute to have a GAL. Certainly a party always has a right to contact the court. In domestic relations cases, the children are of course not parties, but they have an interest that rises to the level of a constitutionally protected interest. Yet they are minors controlled by their parents. How else are they supposed to get the attention of the court if the parents do not go in and speak for them? Thus, the judges in our courts are sensitive to the appropriate needs of children to express their desires when not coached or pushed by parents. Obviously, if the judge has ANY thought that this is a manipulation on the part of the parent, that parent is going to be in a lot of trouble.

Heather Morcroft

Heather Morcroft

Posted

The courts address any ex parte issue by copying any such communication from a child to all the parties and their counsel and addressing the issue with them before following through or making any decision as to what to do about the child's communication and request.

Heather Morcroft

Heather Morcroft

Posted

It is actually not uncommon.

Heather Morcroft

Heather Morcroft

Posted

If the problem is bad enough that the child is coming on a website to ask questions, then this child is being put in the middle and needs an advocate. The only way to get that advocate is to appeal to the court, as obviously his parents are not doing that on his behalf.

Heather Morcroft

Heather Morcroft

Posted

I cannot believe that any lawyer who works with children and families would suggest that it is the child's responsibility to get his parents to stop fighting. Really???

Posted

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.

Posted

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.

Peggy M. Raddatz

Peggy M. Raddatz

Posted

Excellent answer.

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