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The Role of an Amicus Attorney in Determining Custody


Custody cases can often be difficult to navigate and must be evaluated on a multitude of levels prior to the court reaching a decision. This is especially true when both parties are making claims about the another and are not open to an agreement. Attorney Bruce C. Zivley has helped many of his clients in Houston, TX, reach amicable solutions. However, in some cases, disputes are unavoidable. Mr. Zivley provides representation to clients while an amicus attorney is appointed by the court to investigate the circumstances regarding custody. These can include an evaluation of homes, interviews with the parents, child, and others who may be able to provide insight into their living conditions and relationships, and many other aspects that will be considered when determining custody.

What is an Amicus Attorney? 

An amicus attorney is delegated to a case by the court in order to help determine the best custody solution for the child. While they do not serve either party, the fees will be split evenly between the two. Their responsibility is to uncover facts and present them to the court in an unbiased manner. Their findings can improve the court's understanding of the child's home life, the current child-parent relationship, the parents' philosophies on raising their child, as well as the child's personal desires regarding their living arrangement.

However, they do not represent the child and do not have to advocate their desires if they are not in the child's best interest. Their duty is to serve as the eyes and ears of the court outside of the courtroom, and to help draw the best conclusion.

An amicus attorney observes the child's day-to-day life with both parties to help determine the parameters of custody.

Investigating the Details 

When investigating the factors that may impact the child's lifestyle and best interests, an amicus attorneys may:

  • Conduct interviews with the child, parents, neighbors, and others who may have valuable knowledge
  • Evaluate claims made by each party that may affect the child's well-being 
  • Obtain and review medical, school, law enforcement, and other records 
  • Visit the home to evaluate living conditions and observe familial interactions 

These various aspects of the investigation will be completed to the extent that the amicus attorney deems appropriate. Prior to your interview with the amicus attorney, Mr. Zivley can speak or meet with them to inform them of the core issues of your case and your position. This can help provide a basis of understanding for the amicus attorney.*

Involvement in Litigation

During your divorce proceedings, the amicus attorney has the right to be aware of any litigation regarding custody, and to present during any of this litigation. He or she can also actively participate in these hearings when acting on behalf of the child, including providing or withholding consent for someone to interview your child, to sign pleadings, as well as to review any documents that will be filed with the court. 

Mr. Zivley has been providing family law services for over 25 years.

The Impact on Your Case 

The information gathered by the amicus attorney during each phase of their investigation can be used at any time during the proceedings. This includes anything that you say in interviews at home. While it is important to be forthcoming with information regarding your relationship with your child, it is equally important to be prepared and aware that your words will be used in determining custody.

Mr. Zivley has been providing family law services for over 25 years. He can help prepare you for the involvement of an amicus attorney and help you understand what that means for your family's life for the following months.*

Book an Appointment

Contact the practice of Bruce C. Zivley online or by phone at (281) 506-0047 to schedule a consultation regarding any aspects surrounding your divorce, the custody process, or any other family law matters. While Mr. Zivley does not directly represent your child, he always seeks to provide service that will protect your child's best interests.*

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"Bruce handled my divorce. He was efficient and effective, always responsive and accessible. He provided great advice and kept the discussion fact-based and objective when I was occasionally tempted to focus on emotional aspects of the situation.*"

Holly B.

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Houston, TX 77046

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