Court-Appointed Advisors in Phoenix Family Law Cases
It is an unfortunate fact of life that some family law and custody proceedings have more stress and drama than others. Sometimes the court must appoint a special advisor to a family law case to make sure everyone’s interests are represented properly. A court-appointed advisor can be assigned to your case whether or not you have your own counsel for the matter. This is just one of countless issues that can arise during a custody dispute or other family law matter in Maricopa County. A skilled family law attorney can assist you in your legal matter whether you are pleased with the advisor’s appointment or think it could create trouble in your case. To schedule your free consultation with one of our Phoenix divorce lawyers, click here or call 480-680-9126.
What is a Court-Appointed Advisor and What Purpose Do They Serve?
Arizona defines and explains court-appointed advisors in Arizona Rule of Family Law Procedure 10.1. A court-appointed advisor can help the court resolve family law disputes but cannot work in a representative capacity. For example, the advisor is not working as either party’s attorney but may conduct interviews to create a report to submit to the judge. The court-appointed advisor will often also interview any children involved to reduce how much time they need to spend in a more stressful courtroom setting. The advisor may need to review lengthy documents and records, such as text message conversations, email conversations, medical records, and more. The services of a court-appointed advisor don’t come for free. The court may have the parties split the costs of the court-appointed advisor 50/50. However, there are many circumstances that could cause the judge to order one party to pay a majority of the advisor’s fees and expenses. Most often, one party is the sole or primary breadwinner and has far more relative resources to shoulder the cost.
An Arizona family law judge can order a court-appointed advisor to serve on a case when any of a number of factors are met. A common reason that a court-appointed advisor may end up working on a case is that there have been allegations of child abuse or neglect. The judge may appoint an advisor because the parents can’t resolve their issues and display an extended history of high conflict. Sometimes the judge will step in and appoint an advisor because there is a history of domestic violence within the family. This can be documented by police reports, protective orders, medical reports, and more. Similarly, a court-appointed advisor may be required to step in because there are substance abuse issues in the family. These can be documented by medical records, arrest records, substance abuse counseling, etc. If a child has special needs, this may be a reason the judge finds it necessary to appoint an advisor. Sometimes, simply a young age is a special need necessitating a court-appointed advisor in the eyes of the law. It may also be beneficial to appoint an advisor if either parent has serious mental health problems or behavioral issues. The judge can appoint an advisor for any other reason they deem necessary in Arizona. If you have questions about court-appointed advisors in Maricopa County family law cases, click here or call 480-680-9126 for your free consultation with our firm.
Child’s Attorney/Best Interest Attorney vs. Court-Appointed Advisor
In some situations, the court will appoint an attorney to represent a child’s best interest. The key word here is “represent”- the main difference between a child’s attorney or best interest attorney and a court-appointed advisor is that a court-appointed advisor doesn’t act in a representative capacity. A court-appointed advisor can’t take the same actions that a licensed attorney can. Instead, a court-appointed advisor’s position is more similar to an expert witness. A court-appointed advisor can do an investigation to make recommendations to the court, but a best-interest attorney by nature can’t be neutral enough to complete this role.
It should be clear to both parties when a court-appointed advisor is ordered to join the case as compared to a child’s attorney. The court will issue an order of appointment which should clearly describe why the advisor is being appointed and what their scope of authority will be. The order should explain the advisor’s costs and who will be responsible for paying them. It should also include language authorizing access to the child and privileged and confidential information and records.
Will a Court-Appointed Advisor Help My Situation if My Ex is a Narcissist?
Narcissists are master manipulators that will take advantage of any opportunity to be the center of attention and be vindictive to someone who has bruised their ego. Unfortunately, family court can sometimes be the ideal arena for a narcissist. If your ex is truly a narcissist, they’ve probably already been laying the groundwork to support their position in a family law matter. This could be spreading information (and misinformation) about your situation to friends and family members to turn them against you. It may be police involvement during domestic disputes. Your ex may have already retained legal representation and begun assembling a case against you. The good news is that a court-appointed advisor works to provide the court with a fair and neutral assessment of the situation.
Family law hearings can be fast and cover a relatively large amount of information. It can be difficult for litigants to articulate their arguments while under pressure. But court-appointed advisors have enough time before hearings to prepare. Their information is collected without the time crunch of a busy court docket. Parents are expected to be cooperative and respectful while dealing with court-appointed advisors. This might not be within a raging narcissist’s capabilities. If your ex is purposefully delaying proceedings, being dishonest, etc., the advisor can include this in their report.
Some narcissists are better at keeping their masks up than others, so hopefully a court-appointed advisor won’t become another person for them to manipulate. Your family law attorney will stand up for your interests and make sure your advisor’s perception isn’t skewed by your ex’s tactics. An incompetent or unobservant advisor may be more likely to allow a narcissist’s antics to continue when they should be shut down by a licensed attorney. If you suspect that your spouse is a narcissist, you should anticipate any upcoming dissolution of marriage and other family law proceedings to be arduous and complicated. Have your situation assessed by an experienced Phoenix family law attorney by clicking here or calling 480-680-9126.
Prepare Yourself for Phoenix Family Law Proceedings with Our Skilled Divorce Lawyers
A court-appointed advisor is no substitute for your own lawyer in a divorce, custody battle, or any other type of family law proceeding in Arizona. A court-appointed advisor will only assess the situation and provide a report detailing what would be in your child’s best interests. Your divorce lawyer can make sure your communications with the advisor are clear and you are ready for the rest of the issues that will arise in your matter. AZ Family Law Lawyers are experienced, confident, and know how to deliver great results. To get started with your free consultation, contact us through our online form or call 480-680-9126.
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