Does the Attorney-Client Privilege Protect A Child’s Communications with Her Guardian Ad Litem?

The attorney-client privilege is a common law evidence rule that prevents courts from ordering lawyers or clients to reveal the content of their communications. However, the attorney-client privilege can only be invoked if certain requirements are met. First, there must be a “communication.”  This “communication” can be face-to-face, over the phone, or through a letter, an e-mail, etc. Second, the communication must be between an attorney and his or her client.

Third, the communication must be made in confidence. Finally, the purpose of the communication must be for obtaining legal advice.


Under the second requirement, state law varies on whether communications with agents of a lawyer, such as a secretary, paralegal, or an investigator, or communications with interpreters and guardians appointed for children, are also privileged. In a recent case, People v. Gabriesheski, the Colorado Supreme Court found that the attorney-client privilege did not protect communications between a child and her guardian ad litem.… <Read More>

Abbey Center Event Recap: “Nuts and Bolts of the Indian Child Welfare Act”

Picture Courtesy of the Indian Child Welfare Act Law Center, located in Minneapolis, MN

On December 1, 2011 I attended the Abbey Center expert lunch event “Nuts and Bolts of the Indian Child Welfare Act” with guest speaker Elizabeth Rosenbaum. Mrs. Rosenbaum is a solo practitioner who specializes in family law issues, including divorce, custody, and adoption. But perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of Mrs. Rosenbaum’s practice is that she is an expert on the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and has worked with approximately fifty to sixty different Native American tribes throughout her career. She has also been called as an expert witness on the ICWA on many occasions.

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Untreated Sex Offenders: Automatically Presumed Neglectful Parents?

The New York Court of Appeals recently decided a case involving a father of five children who was found to be a level three sex offender after being convicted of various crimes, including “rape in the second degree, sexual intercourse with a person less than 15 years of age, and patronizing a prostitute”. Although none of these crimes involved the father’s own children or any other relatives, the court was faced with the question of whether or not the father nevertheless neglected his own children based on his status as a sex offender. … <Read More>