Can an attorney represent a client in court without the client being present in a child custody case ? 25 Answers as of June 11, 2013

Can an attorney represent a client in court without the client present? This is a Child Custody case where the parents were not married.

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Harris Law Firm
Harris Law Firm | Jennifer C. Robins
The client is usually required to be in court for child custody hearings, whether in person or via telephone.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 4/26/2011
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
It is possible, but not advisable for the client to be absent from a hearing. It really depends on what the matter is that is being heard. If the hearing is merely a procedural Motion where the client is represented by counsel, that matter could be heard without the client being present if the Court bases its ruling on papers filed and argument, but given the Elkins legislation effective January 1, 2011, the Court may require live testimony - which would not be possible if the client is absent, and absence of the client in such case may result in a ruling adverse to the client. The client should certainly be present in Court for any Order to Show Cause or Trial.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/20/2011
Rhonda R. Werner Schultz, PL
Rhonda R. Werner Schultz, PL | Rhonda R. Werner Schultz
Unless there is a signed agreement which the attorney is presenting to the court on behalf of a client, typically, a child custody determination would require testimony or other evidence presented by each parent. If no such testimony or evidence was required, then an attorney may be able to argue to the court on the client's behalf. Such an approach would be very odd and not likely to be successful. I have found that judge's want to hear from each parent at a custody hearing. If both parents are not there, the judge is not likely getting the whole story and will make a decision based upon what is presented at the hearing.
Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
Replied: 4/20/2011
Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
I believe that the client parent must be present. At least for an initial determination.That parent might be able to appear telephonically. The Court might want to question the parents to assist in its determination, so both parents must be present. Depending on the issue, an attorney might be able to appear without the client at subsequent hearings.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/20/2011
Law Office of Curry & Westgate
Law Office of Curry & Westgate | Patrick Curry
Yes, however the results may not be the same.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/20/2011
    Christine D. Thielo
    Christine D. Thielo | Law Office of Christine D. Thielo
    It will depend on the type of hearing.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/20/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    Yes. However, permission of the judge may be required if the client wishes to testify by telephone. And, you must remember that custody decisions involve a certain amount of subjective judgment about a parent. It may well be crucial that the judge have an opportunity to see and hear you in person to be able to accurately decide what kind of person you are and whether you would be a fit parent.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 4/20/2011
    Fox Law Firm LLC
    Fox Law Firm LLC | Tina Fox
    It depends on what the case was set for on that particular day. A client may not need to be at all court dates, and may take advantage of having an attorney representing him/her and protecting his/her rights while going on with their day, at which time the attorney will inform her client of what happened in court on that day.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 4/20/2011
    Arnold & Wadsworth
    Arnold & Wadsworth | Brian Arnold
    This depends on if the attorney has been hired and the client consented to the attorney being there without the client.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 4/20/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    Sure. It would be hard to do a trial without a client, but I suppose not impossible. Hearings are often done without the client as most counties do not allow live testimony at temporary hearings.There might be lots of reasons to have you there however. It is theatre. I often say it is harder to ignore a person standing in front of you. However, there may be reasons to keep you away too. Talk to your attorney about why he/she does or does not want you there. Ifit is a show cause hearing you are suppose to be there. If you have been subpoenaed you are suppose to be there. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 4/20/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    The answer to your question depends on the type of court hearing that is held. There is no requirement that the party attends unless the party was served with an Order to Show Cause or is otherwise required to appear by the Court Judge. They may appear through counsel for most proceedings, though often such an appearance is less effective.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 4/20/2011
    Ciccarelli Law Offices
    Ciccarelli Law Offices | Lee Ciccarelli
    Under some circumstances that can be done. Contact our divorce attorney to learn more about your rights and obligations in a custody battle.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 4/20/2011
    Kelly A. Broadbent, Esq.
    Kelly A. Broadbent, Esq. | Kelly Broadbent
    Typically in family court, the parties must be present. In custody cases, the court typically takes testimony from the parties to determine how to split the parenting time. It may be possible for an attorney to negotiate an agreement for you out of court, but typically once the matter goes to court, the judges typically expect the parties to attend the proceedings.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 4/20/2011
    Goldberg Jones
    Goldberg Jones | Zephyr Hill
    Yes. That is not unusual.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/20/2011
    Michael Apicella
    Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
    Typically, no. The parent must be present at a custody hearing.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/20/2011
    Attorney Paul Lancia
    Attorney Paul Lancia | Paul Lancia
    Yes, but the client would be better served if he or she was present.

    If you have questions, call me for a free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 4/20/2011
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