Selected State Statutes: Colorado

Statutes: Colorado

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§ 14-10-116. Appointment in domestic relations cases--representation of child's best interest--legal representative of the child

(1) The court may, upon the motion of either party or upon its own motion, appoint an attorney, in good standing and licensed to practice law in the state of Colorado, to serve as the legal representative of the child, representing the best interests of the child in any domestic relations proceeding that involves allocation of parental responsibilities. In no instance may the same person serve as both the child's legal representative pursuant to this section and as the child and family investigator for the court pursuant to section 14-10-116.5. Within seven days after the appointment, the appointed person shall comply with the disclosure provisions of subsection (2.5) of this section.

(2) The legal representative of the child, appointed pursuant to subsection (1) of this section, shall represent the best interests of the minor or dependent child, as described in section 14-10-124, with respect to the child's custody, the allocation of parental responsibilities, support for the child, the child's property, parenting time, or any other issue related to the child that is identified by the legal representative of the child or the appointing court. The legal representative of the child shall actively participate in all aspects of the case involving the child, within the bounds of the law. The legal representative of the child shall comply with the provisions set forth in the Colorado rules of professional conduct and any applicable provisions set forth in chief justice directives or other practice standards established by rule or directive of the chief justice pursuant to section 13-91-105(1) (c), C.R.S., concerning the duties or responsibilities of best interest representation in legal matters affecting children. The legal representative of the child shall not be called as a witness in the case. While the legal representative of the child shall ascertain and consider the wishes of the child, the legal representative of the child is not required to adopt the child's wishes in his or her recommendation or advocacy for the child unless such wishes serve the child's best interest as described in section 14-10-124.

(2.5)(a) Within seven days after his or her appointment, the appointed person shall disclose to each party, attorneys of record, and the court any familial, financial, or social relationship that the appointed person has or has had with the child, either party, the attorneys of record, or the judicial officer and, if a relationship exists, the nature of the relationship.

(b) Based on the disclosure required pursuant to paragraph (a) of this subsection (2.5), the court may, in its discretion, terminate the appointment and appoint a different person in the proceedings. A party has seven days from the date of the disclosure to object to the appointment based upon information contained in the disclosure. If a party objects to the appointment, the court shall appoint a different person or confirm the appointment within seven days after the date of the party's objection. If no party timely objects to the appointment, then the appointment is deemed confirmed.

(3)(a) The court shall enter an order for costs, fees, and disbursements in favor of the child's legal representative appointed pursuant to subsection (1) of this section. The order shall be made against any or all of the parties; except that, if the responsible parties are determined to be indigent, the costs, fees, and disbursements shall be borne by the state.

(b) In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage or legal separation, prior to the entry of a decree of dissolution or legal separation, the court shall not enter an order requiring the state to bear the costs, fees, or disbursements related to the appointment of a child's legal representative unless both parties are determined to be indigent after considering the combined income and assets of the parties.

(c) If the appointment of a child's legal representative occurs in a case involving unmarried parties, including those proceedings that occur after the entry of a decree for dissolution of marriage or of legal separation, the court shall make every reasonable effort to apportion costs between the parties in a manner that will minimize the costs, fees, and disbursements that shall be borne by the state.