Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

family lawIn a recent article, “Does Empowering Children During Divorce Litigation Serve Them Well?,” N.Y.L.J. (July 29, 2019), Lisa Zeiderman appears to offer a resounding “no” in response to that rhetorical question. In doing so, and in recounting the evolution of the role of the attorney for the child (AFC) in New York, she raises issues that no longer bear serious discussion, and gets several things wrong.

Ms. Zeiderman asserts that prior to the promulgation in 2007 of §7.2 of the Rules of the Chief Judge, “children were represented by law guardians who made a recommendation to Judges as to a child’s best interest.” Not so. Pre-Rule 7.2, the AFC (then called a “law guardian”), while always taking into account and communicating to the court the child’s expressed wishes (see Family Court Act §241), did act upon his or her own considered judgment, but only when representing young children who are incapable of articulating their wishes and/or making considered judgments. However, when representing teenagers, and even younger children who are capable of considered judgment, the AFC was ethically bound to advocate for the child’s preferences unless successful advocacy would expose the child to a risk of imminent serious harm. Rule 7.2 formalized what was already the prevailing practice, at least in New York Family Courts, and also had the salutary effect of deterring renegade AFCs from engaging in unauthorized and inappropriate “best interests” advocacy.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Benefits of a Digital Membership:

  • Free access to 3 articles* every 30 days
  • Access to the entire ALM network of websites
  • Unlimited access to the ALM suite of newsletters
  • Build custom alerts on any search topic of your choosing
  • Search by a wide range of topics

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?

Dig Deeper


Library of New York Matrimonial Law FormsBook

Library of New York Matrimonial Law Forms is a comprehensive library of 200+ model documents. Library includes forms for all aspects of divorce, including complaint...

Get More Information

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.