#Freebritney Why Having Your Own Voice in Court Matters
Britney Spears has been in the news a lot recently since her conservatorship battle has been getting more and more contentious. It has sparked the national #FreeBritney movement, where fans of the popstar rally together to advocate an end to what they deem is an abusive conservatorship. Britney’s conservatorship is a legal arrangement that has granted her father and a team of lawyers control over her life for the past 13 years. During her testimony on June 23, Britney explained what her life has been like under this arrangement, asserting that she had been forced to perform against her will for years and that she is not allowed to marry her longtime boyfriend. She also claims that she did not have any relationship with her court-appointed lawyer, Samuel Ingham III, and made a plea to have someone else represent her. She told the judge, “I haven’t really had the opportunity by my own self to actually handpick my own lawyer by myself, and would like to be able to do that.”
Well, just a couple of days ago, Britney experienced a huge “win” in her case. The judge overseeing her conservatorship ruled that Britney will be allowed to personally choose a lawyer to represent her interests in this battle. This ruling gives Britney fans hope that it will be a pivotal step to give her back control over her own life.
Having the autonomy to choose your own lawyer to represent your own interests is huge in any case. As lawyers, that is the core of our job, to advocate on your behalf and keep your best interests at heart.Minor’s Counsel in Family Law Cases
In that same vein, minors in family law cases are rarely allowed to testify in court or speak to the judge directly, especially regarding issues such as custody and visitation. These issues directly involve them and their well-being, so wouldn’t it make sense to have someone speak just for the child themselves, especially in highly contentious cases?
There is. In California, family court judges will appoint a lawyer called “minor’s counsel” who only represents the child. Minor’s counsel will interview the child about their concerns and their custodial preference. They serve as a neutral voice for the child and their job is to only consider what is best for the child regardless of the other issues happening in the divorce case at large. By this way, the child’s wants and needs are being represented in court, and Minor’s counsel is the mechanism for which the child can have their voice heard.
Having your own voice heard in court is essential to resolving your family law matter. If you are seeking a custody agreement for your child, please contact our office to schedule a consultation. Here at Mello & Pickering, LLP we have extensive experience settling and litigating family law matters and can guide you as needed to ensure a successful resolution.