Pursuant to Section 506(a)(3) of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, the Court may appoint a Child Representative for the minor child in any case where the parties are disputing the custody, visitation, education, parentage, property interest, or general welfare of their child. The Court will appoint a Child Representative to advocate for the child’s best interests. To accomplish this, the Child Representative must meet with the child and the parties, investigate the facts and issues surrounding the case, and help the parties settle any disputes they have with regard to their child.
It is important to understand that, the Child Representative is not your attorney and is not the opposing party’s attorney. The Child Representative is your child’s attorney. Therefore, anything that you or the opposing party says to the Child Representative is not protected by the attorney-client privilege. As a result, anything you say to the Child Representative can be used against you in your case. On the contrary, Section 506(a)(3) specifically states that, “[t]he child representative shall not disclose confidential communications made by the child, except as required by law or by the Rules of Professional Conduct.” This means that, because the Child Representative is your child’s attorney, anything your child discusses with the Child Representative in confidence is protected by the attorney-client privilege. As a result, the Child Representative cannot discuss what the child says with you or the opposing party.
This concept is often very frustrating for parents who are naturally concerned for their child during their proceeding. However, it is important to remember that the Court appointed the Child Representative in the hopes that he or she can help the parties resolve the custody, visitation, and other disputes between them, and also help shield your child from the harm that can result from these disputes. Janice L. Boback has served as a court appointed child representative for many years. As a result, she understands the Child Representative’s role in your case. If you have any questions regarding a child representative’s involvement with your case, please feel free to contact our office for a consultation.