The Independent Children’s Lawyer (ICL) is an independent, unbiased legal representation for the children of a divorce that acts in and has the best interests of its clients (the children). The ICL is generally appointed when coordinating parenting orders if the case involves mental health concerns, violence, abuse, high conflict, neither parent has legal representation or if it is a particularly complex situation. Generally, the court (the Judge) requests the appointment of an ICL, however in a few cases, the child(ren) can appoint an ICL.
The ICL will try to arrange a mediation whereby they weigh in on what is appropriate and keep the court proceedings focused on parenting arrangements and child-focused issues.
The role of the ICL includes:
The ICL’s time and costs need to be met by the parents. When the ICL is appointed a schedule of fees is forwarded to the parents and payment is expected. Fee exemptions can apply and they need to be submitted to court in writing accompanied by the relevant forms, then approved or declined by the Court.
Don’t contact the ICL directly. All contact with the ICL must be through your lawyer unless you are self-representing.
Overall, if an ICL is appointed, your situation is particularly complex. At least you can find comfort knowing that there is an unbiased person keeping the interests of the children at the forefront of the proceedings.