I recently finished the report to the court on my most recent court appointed advisor assignment. A court appointed advisor is someone whom the family court appoints to investigate the facts in a custody/legal decision making/parenting time dispute. It usually involves allegations of abuse, neglect, drug use, domestic violence, or some combination of these factors. The court appointed advisor is the court’s eyes and ears, who investigates the case, reports to the court, and makes a recommendation. The court ultimately makes the decision.
The advisor has the authority to retrieve medical, school, criminal, department of child safety, or any other records. He or she interviews the parents and any other people whom the advisor deems appropriate to interview. The advisor inspects the parents’ homes and may interview or observe the children.
The instructors in my training said that both parents will act like they love me at first, but will both be angry with me if I do a good job. This latest case was no exception. One parent agreed with my recommendations, although my recommendations were not one-sided, but appeared to be angry with me and would not even look at me. The other parent, however, denounced me to the court, claimed that I had not done my job, claimed that I am biased, and sat in court glaring at me.
This was still a rewarding experience because, unlike other pro bono cases, I am not an advocate for one of the adults. My only concern is to gather and give information to the judge and I can truly focus on the best interests of the child.