New York University Public Law and Legal Theory Working Papers

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This article describes the Standards for the Representation of Children in Custody and Visitation proceedings recently promulgated by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. It also seeks to bring to life the remarkable politics of children’s representation, which came to a boil in recent years. In addition to describing the AAML Standards, the article also describes two other recent efforts to define the role of a child's lawyer, one by the Uniform Law Commission and the other by the American Bar Association and then tells the story of why both of those efforts ultimately failed to garner significant support in the field. The article tells the fascinating story of how the Uniform Law Commission came to be defeated by children’s rights advocates and how the ABA effort came to be defeated by very different forces. The article concludes by attempting to identify common ground among all three efforts and to reconcile the competing visions of children’s advocacy shared by these three organizations. The article offers a vision of how best to use court-appointed aides to serve children and their families when the parents are enmeshed in contentious disputes over custody and visitation.

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Family Law Commons