Minor’s Counsel: What Is It?

In California, a minor’s counsel is an appointment of an attorney to represent a minor in family law matters, ranging from divorce, drug-related matters, child neglect, and child abuse, to name a few. The court’s appointment, governed by California Family Code Sections 7861 and 3151, allows the attorney unfettered access to the child’s records (i.e., school, medical, doctors, therapists) for information gathering purposes, used to serve the minor’s best interests.

However, either parent and even court-appointed personnel may request an appointment of minor’s counsel on behalf of the minor. (“Order Appointing Counsel for A Child”, Form FL-323)

After evidence has been collected, the attorney presents the evidence s/he has gathered, while keeping the minor’s well-being in mind. However, despite acting in the best interest of the minor, the attorney must remain neutral at all times.

In helping voice the minor’s rights, the minor’s counsel ensures that the minor is adequately represented and that the child’s rights are not compromised. By helping voice the minor’s concerns, the minor’s counsel helps ensure that the minor is not being forced to side with one parent over the other. After all, a minor’s best interest also includes that minor’s overall well-being – which includes the minor’s physical, emotional and mental state of mind.

Authored by IRWIN & IRWIN.

IRWIN & IRWIN Family Law is located in Fullerton and Newport Beach, California. We provide a full suite of family law services from divorce litigation, divorce mediation, child custody issues, domestic violence restraining orders and representing minors in court. “Every situation is different, and some come with very complex financial issues. Our legal team is here to support you during a very troubling time and prepare you for court, or to at least help negotiate or mediate the issues out to establish an equitable legal resolution,” says Kelly Irwin, Senior Litigator at the firm.