Giving the Pawns a Voice: A Call for Mandatory Representation of Children in High-Conflict Custody Battles

“Apparently . . . these are very, very stubborn individuals . . . We’re just going to have to cut this Gordian knot, and I’m prepared to cut it . . . There will be no personal visitation until further order of the Court.” By that order, the court removed two children from their protective mother and entrusted them to their abusive father. In its ruling, the court expressed frustration with the parties’ strife and used that intolerance to justify dismissing the custody and visitation rights of the mother, all in an effort to end supposedly false allegations of the father’s child abuse. Actually, the father held a courtroom advantage which allowed him to use litigation to silence the founded allegations. It was not until the children were represented by independent counsel that they were protected. Finally, the children were returned to the protective parent.