Child Custody Article

What is a Court-Appointed Advisor and what is his or her function in a Family Law case?

You have a dispute with your child’s parent. One of you filed a petition or motion with the Court. The Court scheduled a Resolution Management Conference and at the conference, the Court tells you it is appointing a Court Advisor. Why? What happens now?

The Rules of Family Law Procedure provides for the appointment of a Child’s Attorney, Best Interest Attorney, or Court-Appointed Advisor. Each serves a different purpose. A Child’s Attorney or Best Interest Attorney act in a representative capacity – both participate in the case to the same extent as an attorney. On the other hand, a Court-Appointed Advisor is prohibited from taking any action that would only be permitted by a licensed attorney. However, a Court-Appointed Advisor can be especially helpful to the Court, in resolving disputes.

An order appointing a Court-Appointed Advisor must specifically state the reason for appointment, as well as the terms. For example, an Advisor is typically appointed in order to interview each party at their homes, review records – such as medical reports, school reports, emails or text messages, and police reports – speak to other interested parties, and often interview the minor child. The order will also state how the Court-Appointed Advisor will be compensated. Typically, the parties will be ordered to each pay 50% of the Court-Appointed Advisor’s fee, subject to reallocation. Therefore, the Court may order a party to pay a larger portion of the fee based on their unreasonable position, lack of cooperation, or other reason.

The Court-Appointed Advisor must have an opportunity to testify or to submit a report stating their recommendations regarding the best interest of the child and the basis for the recommendations. A Child’s Attorney or Best Interest Attorney are not allowed to testify or submit recommendations to the Court.

In order to qualify as a Court-Appointed Advisor, an individual must have received training or have experience in the type of proceeding in which they are appointed. Specifically, a Court-Appointed Advisor acts as more of a witness rather than a representative. The duties of a Court-Appointed Advisor are generally viewed as a witness or one who provides counsel or input. It is extremely important for you to cooperate with the Court-Appointed Advisor or comply with any requests of the Court-Appointed Advisor. You should treat the Court-Appointed Advisor with deference and respect. The recommendations of the Court-Appointed Advisor will be influenced by your cooperation and your honesty (or lack of) will likely be noted in the Court-Appointed Advisor’s report.

You, or your attorney, may question or cross-examine the Court-Appointed Advisor. However, it is important to remember that the Advisors appointed by the Court, appear before the judges often and are known to the Court. The Court views the Court-Appointed Advisor as an expert witness and relies on their recommendations.

A Court-Appointed Advisor may be especially helpful in a case where there are many factual disputes, an inability for the parties to cooperate, or the minor child is old enough to voice an opinion. Would a Court-Appointed Advisor be useful in your case? Possibly. It is important to consult with an attorney.

Contributing Attorney: Billie Tarascio litigates family law and domestic violence cases at Modern Law.



  • If On a Decree of Divorce it states that the minor child Cannot be taken or relocated from the state and one of the parties does this can they held in violation of this court order ?
  • My daughter had a child out of wedlock. Her boyfriend is threatening to fight for custody. What are his rights and chances of acquiring custody? He is on the birth certificate.
  • my son was born in arizona, his father and I do not have any legal custody papers but my son has been residing in las vegas for the past 8 years. I want to be able to have my son visit for the summers or what not but I am not sure how to go about it, especially if his father is not willing.
  • my house was raided for identity theft and baby daddy left meth on counter. caps was called and they took my son away. in my police report the conclusion on child dangerment was denied when investigated but cps still has my son. they only know what the police told them at the time of the incident. apparently the higher ups in police denied the allegation. I'm going to prison for years. can I still file guardianship to my mom even tho he is still in cps? we r in process of icpc for him to live with my mom but I want cps out of pic. it feels like something is wrong with this case.
  • My 14 year old son refuses to live or visit his father and we have not followed the court order for over 5 years what do I need to do?
  • Me and my ex-spouse has joint custody, recently I move and have not reported to the court. Im scared to let him know my new residents due to the threats that I recieve by text and answering machine I decided to get a training order is there anything that I need to know addiction to this order?
  • Recently i signed a paper stating that i gave my 14 yr. olds father temporary authority of our son. We were never married and we split up when he was only a few months old. When will i be able to get him back?
  • My daughter has custody the grandchildren. She is a drug addict/alcoholic. She has struggled with her addictions for years and once again losing battle. The children's father is in the military, stationed in WA. How can he ask for custody?
  • We had a a verbal agreement to allow our son to attend a school out of district as long as my ex would take him to school on a daily basis..he got upset with me and broke the verbal agreement two months before school was out i was forced to make a temporay change in my work schedule to allow my son to finsih up the school year i want to place him in the school which he is suppose to attent which is in our district and two blocks away from each of our homes. can he fight me on this we have joint legal custody ..will sedning him a certified letter making him aware of the change be ok?
  • How do I get my atlas number?


  • If you get a divorce, make sure your date of birth is on the Decree if your name is changing!. . .
  • He told me that I could actually get all the money I needed by using my home as collateral. . .
  • He told me that I could actually get all the money I needed by using my home as collateral. . .



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