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231 Pa. Code Rule 1915.11. Appointing Child’s Attorney. Child Interview. Child Attending Proceedings.

Rule 1915.11. Appointing Child’s Attorney. Child Interview. Child Attending Proceedings.

 (a)  Appointing Child’s Attorney.

   (1)  Upon its own motion or a party’s motion, the court may appoint an attorney to represent a child who is the subject of the action.

   (2)  The court’s order appointing the child’s attorney, as provided in Pa.R.Civ.P. 1915.19, may apportion to the parties the reasonable cost of the child’s attorney.

   (3)  The child’s attorney:

     (i)   shall represent the child’s legal interest;

     (ii)   shall zealously represent the child as any other client in an attorney-client relationship; and

     (iii)   shall not act as the child’s guardian ad litem or best interest attorney as provided in Pa.R.Civ.P. 1915.11-2.

 (b)  Child Interview.

   (1)  The court may interview a child in open court or in chambers.

   (2)  If the court interviews the child, the court shall conduct the child’s interview on the record.

   (3)  If permitted by the court, a party’s attorney or a party may observe the interview.

   (4)  As part of the interview process, the court shall permit either:

     (i)   the parties’ attorneys to question the child under the court’s supervision, provided that all parties are represented by an attorney; or

     (ii)   a party’s attorney or a self-represented party to submit to the court written questions, which the court may include in its interview.

 (c)  Child Attending Proceedings. Unless ordered by the court or otherwise compelled to testify on the record, a child’s attendance at a conference, hearing, or trial is not required.

Comment—1991

   Pa.R.Civ.P. 1915.15(c) provides a form of order to appear at a conference or hearing in a custody action.

   However, the presence of a child in court is not always necessary or desirable. The experience may be traumatic and disruptive. Consequently, the child should not be required to attend a hearing or conference in every case. When the presence of a child is required and the custodial party does not voluntarily bring the child, the court may issue an order for the child’s attendance.

   Subdivision (c) has been added to Pa.R.Civ.P. 1915.11 to provide that, in the absence of an order of court, a child who is the subject of the action need not be brought to a conference or a hearing before the court. The form of order to appear provided by Pa.R.Civ.P. 1915.15(c) has been revised to implement this policy.

Comment—2022

   Although the rule states that a child is not required to attend a conference, hearing, or trial, the terminology used by a judicial district may vary for these court proceedings. The rule’s intent is to limit the child’s participation to only those proceedings in which the child will actively participate as a witness or in the court’s interview.

Source

   The provisions of this Rule 1915.11 amended April 29, 1991, effective July 1, 1991, 21 Pa.B. 2337; amended August 1, 2013, effective September 3, 2013, 43 Pa.B. 4702; amended May 18, 2016, effective July 1, 2016, 46 Pa.B. 2854; amended January 20, 2022, effective April 1, 2022, 52 Pa.B. 826. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (403250) to (403251).



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