Children's Attorneys

In Maryland, there are three types of attorneys that represent children in cases involving child custody or child access: Best Interest Attorney, Child's Advocate Attorney, and Child's Privilege Attorney.

Best Interest Attorney: It is the job of the best interest attorney to advocate for the position that the attorney believes is in the best interest of the child. This position may or may not be the same as the child's position. In order to determine that best interest attorney's position, the attorney will meet with the child, the parents, and other persons who have a close relationship with the minor child. The Best Interest Attorney acts as a third attorney in court proceedings and can make their own motions, provide their own witnesses and cross-examine each party's witnesses at trial. A Best Interest Attorney can only be appointed by the Court, but any party can request an appointment for a Best Interest Attorney by the Court.

Child's Advocate Attorney: When a child has reached a certain maturity whereby they are believed to have what is called "considered judgment," the Child's Advocate Attorney advocates for the child's wishes in the case. A Child's Advocate Attorney is also a third attorney in court proceedings that can make their own motions, provide their own witnesses and cross-examine each party's witnesses at trial.

Child's Privilege Attorney: (formerly known as a Nagel v. Hooks attorney) — It is the role of the child's privilege attorney to either assert or waive, on behalf of a minor child, any privilege that the child would be entitled to assert or waive if they had reached the age of majority. Typically this involves asserting or waving the confidentiality between a child and their therapist or other mental health provider if necessary. The Child's Privilege Attorney may assert or waive a privilege by either filing a document with the court prior to a hearing or trial or asserting the privilege or stating the waiver on the record at a hearing or the trial.