It cannot be said that the work of a Child Protection Lawyer is ever easy or anything but emotionally fraught.
Practitioners of this subspecialty within the general area of Family Law may be called upon to represent the rights of children in custody and access disputes between separating or divorcing parents. In such cases, they represent the child or children and not either of the parents. The Child Protection Lawyer will treat the child or children as his or her client(s) and take instructions from the child or children to the extent the child/children is/are capable and willing to give instructions. If not, they will do what he or she thinks is in the child or children’s best interests on the basis of their training, experience, and the particular circumstances of the case. The Lawyer will work closely with the judge in Family Court but will not take into account are the wishes of one or the other parents.
Child Protection Lawyers may also become involved in protecting the interests of a child or children if there is a risk that significant property or family assets might be lost before he, she, or they reach the age of majority and are in a position to legally manage their own affairs. This can occur if one or another parent has, for instance, a significant addition or other mental health issue.
Other than in divorce proceedings, the occasions when most people will need to retain this type of lawyer are limited. Most often it will happen if an organization like the Children’s Aid Society believes there may be grounds to remove children from a parent or parents’ custody. In that situation, the priority would be to ensure that the child’s or children’s voice or voices is/are heard and their wishes given weight.
If you think you need the services of a Child Protection Lawyer and cannot find one in this section of the Directory who appears to be a good fit for whatever reason, consult the Family Law section. Many Family Lawyers are well-qualified to represent children.