Legal Ethics in Child Custody and Dependency Proceedings


A Guide for Judges and Lawyers

This book provides the first fully annotated discussion of the ethical universe surrounding state mandated and private legal disputes involving the custody and best interest of children. It surveys thousands of court cases, statutes, state bar ethics codes, Attorney General opinions, and model codes regarding ethical constraints in family and dependency proceedings. The book is unique in two ways. It analyzes ethical rules not only in terms of the chronology of these proceedings, but it also surveys those principles for each of the primary participants – children’s counsel, parents’ counsel, government attorneys, and judges. The book contains chapters on pre-hearing alternative dispute resolution, motion and trial practice, appellate procedures, and separation of powers. Finally, the book provides a complete child abuse case file with a comprehensive analysis of the inherent ethical issues.


Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Competent and zealous representation
  • Confidentiality
  • The ethics of alternative dispute resolution in child custody and dependency proceedings
  • Ethical considerations and constraints in child custody and dependency appeals
  • The constitutionality of legislative and executive regulation of the practice of law and defining the attorney/client relationship