If you are in the middle of an adoption—whether it is a stepparent, grandparent, aunt/uncle, or new parent adoption—you know that your child must have a representative in court to ensure the child’s best interest standard is being met. Many people do not realize that there are a few options for the courts in determining what option is best for your particular case. In adoptions, the two most primary appointments are either amicus attorney or attorney ad litem. But, which would be best for you?
Amicus attorneys are appointed in termination/adoption suits not to specifically represent the child but rather to assist the court in protecting a child’s best interest. So, unlike the attorney ad litem an amicus attorney does not have an attorney-client relationship with the child. In fact, an amicus attorney can even relay what would otherwise be privileged communication from the child to the court if it is necessary to assist in the court’s decision. Amicus attorneys can be appointed for a number of reasons; but typically, they are appointed when the child is young and cannot express their desires to the court unlike a child who is 12 or older. Amicus attorneys do meet with the child and determine what their objectives are in the case; however, the amicus attorney does not have to act in favor of those objectives and must always advocate for the child’s best interest.