We need your help! The current list of approved minor’s counsel has only six attorneys who are currently available to take a case. The family law judicial officers are desperately seeking additional attorneys who can accept appointments as minor’s counsel who are both qualified and interested to serve our family law community.
Minor’s counsel plays a vital role in assisting the court in evaluating custody and establishing parenting plans. They have assisted the judicial officers in providing information on move away requests, domestic violence issues, substance abuse and other forms of alleged abuse, etc. Minor’s Counsel can be a helpful alternative when the parties cannot afford a Parenting Coordinator or a Custody Evaluation. They also assist the court and the parents in “high conflict” cases to look at the conflict from the child’s perspective.
To determine if you qualify, please see California Rule of Court 5.242. Please note that the educational requirements can be met, by taking the Minor’s Counsel Course which is offered by the Family Law Section of the Sonoma County Bar Association. If you agree to be placed on the Minor’s Counsel Panel to take a minimum of at least one case, the SCBA will waive your course fee.
The Court will gladly honor limitations upon your appointment. (For example, based on Family Code Section 3150 (b), the court can appoint you for a specific matter or issue and once that is resolved, the court can order you relieved for cause). Minor’s counsel is currently paid by the Court at a rate of $75.00 per hour. In some cases, the parents may be asked to pay your hourly rate, if they are determined financially able to do so. See Family Code 3153. The court recognizes that the court appointment rate does not adequately compensate minor’s counsel given the complexity of the cases or based on counsel’s experience and skill level. However, the Sonoma County Superior Court Family Law Bench appreciates your consideration to become an advocate for children who are “in need” of valuable representation in difficult and often complex or high conflict Family Law cases. You will truly make a difference in a child’s life and for those
who serve in this capacity; it can be one of the most rewarding experiences in their family law career.
If you are interested in serving on this panel and you are qualified to do so, please submit your application c/o Judicial Assistant, Jean Coyston.
|James G. Bertoli
|Paul J. Lozada
|Superior Court Judge
|Superior Court Judge
|Superior Court Commissioner