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Understanding the Role of Colorado Child Legal Representatives

Child Legal Representatives

In Colorado, as in other states, family courts make decisions about parenting issues based on what is in the children’s best interests. However, Colorado law has a unique provision for achieving this goal. It empowers the family court to appoint a special professional known as a Child Legal Representative to ensure the child’s voice is being heard and to give the court a neutral analysis of what is in the child’s best interests.

A Child Legal Representative (CLR), who must be an attorney in good standing, is charged with representing the child’s best interests in a domestic relations proceeding that involves parenting time, the allocation of parental responsibilities, financial support, the child’s property or any other identified issue related to the child. The CLR cannot have any family, financial or social relationships with the parents or their attorneys that might affect his or her impartiality.

The CLR actively participates in all aspects of the case, which includes conducting an investigation. The CLR interviews the child (if age permits), the parents and other potentially relevant individuals. And if age-appropriate, the CLR maintains contact with the child during the process to answer questions and to hear their ongoing concerns. Based on these conversations and a review of relevant documents, the CLR builds a comprehensive understanding of the child’s circumstances, needs and priorities. This allows the CLR to present the court with a clear picture of what truly serves the child’s best interests.

The CLR presents evidence to the court and makes recommendations, which can include proposals for a parenting plan, child support arrangements or even relocation. The court carefully considers the CLR’s recommendations, along with other evidence presented, in making a final judgment. While the weight given to the recommendations varies case-by-case, a well-presented and compelling argument on behalf of the child carries significant influence.

While open communication is necessary for the CLR to effectively advocate, a certain level of privacy is essential. Conversations between the child and the CLR are generally held in confidence, although there is no formal attorney-client privilege. This fosters a safe space for the child to express their feelings and concerns freely, without fear of judgment or repercussions. However, there are exceptions. In instances where the child reveals abuse or neglect, the CLR is obligated to report it to the appropriate authorities.

If you find yourself involved in a domestic relations case with parental responsibility concerns in Colorado, a Child Legal Representative can help you and the court focus on solutions that are objectively best for your child.

The Law Offices of Bonnie E. Saltzman, LLC in the south Denver area serves as a child legal representative in family court cases throughout the Denver area. Please call 720-388-1565 or contact us online to make an appointment for a free initial consultation.