28 Mar Appointment as an Advocate for Children of Divorce and Custody Disputes
We only get to grow up once. And it takes a long time (especially when looking up from a child’s perspective). Interestingly, we, humans—the planet’s apex predator—take by far the longest of any creature to gain self-reliance. We also happen to be the most helpless and dependent upon our parents from birth through adolescence. I could go on talking about anthropology, as it is fascinating to me, but I digress…
Ask parents what’s most precious to them. #1 Answer? Their kids. Natural commitment to their children can be lost to ego and personal limitations during divorce, though. Children occupy front row seats to imploding relationships and reprehensible behavior. This is why courts sometimes appoint attorneys as counsel—also known as advocates—for children involved in contested or unrepresented divorce cases.
Kids with Lawyers
Litigation can last for years in high-conflict divorces or when parents don’t have legal representation. Resolution is never easily achieved, potentially and perpetually exposing children to debilitating belligerence. And as a result, these kids can be hurt and/or confused. In the least. They’re prone to perform poorly in school, abuse themselves and others, and fail in relationships. They also inherit a high probability of passing the turbulence to their offspring. In such instances, family law attorneys are asked to protect children caught in the middle. Lauren Berkich serves in this capacity as a court-appointed advocate.
Violence, substance abuse, and emotional anguish commonly attend drawn-out divorces. Trusted and neutral experts like Lauren advocate for softer voices unheard above the commotion. Not infrequently, child advocate attorneys are the only professionals working with and for children during prolonged disputes. They help keep the focus on the well-being of children, and do their best to contain the damage.
Until the Settlement
Within Nevada’s legal system, child advocate attorneys provide varied assistance. Understanding custody rules and precedents, Lauren is appointed once it’s clear that a child’s well-being is threatened. She will remain ‘on the case’ until matters are settled – often for a year or more. During that time, she meets regularly with her young client, his or her teachers, facilitates therapy and other assistance for the family, advocates the child’s interests in court and does her level best at insulating him or her from conflict and harm.
Everyone benefits from the intervention of child attorneys. Most parents don’t want to hurt their children; either unknowingly or aware. With protective mandates, child advocates regulate conditions for them. Children can immediately benefit from the participation of lawyers like Lauren who represent them in these likely foreign and worrisome episodes. With support, kids’ who experience anxiety and depression during their parents’ divorce can feel those emotions subside and they can often return to school, activities, friends and self-discovery with minimal time away. They only get one shot at growing up. It’s comforting to know that Lauren Berkich and others are there to help see that through.