Rule 1915.11. Appointment of Attorney for Child. Interview of Child. Attendance of Child at Hearing or Conference.
(a) The court may on its own motion, or the motion of a party, appoint an attorney to represent the child in the action. Counsel for the child shall represent the childs legal interests and zealously represent the child as any other client in an attorney-client relationship. Counsel for the child shall not perform the role of a guardian ad litem or best interests attorney. The court may assess the cost of the childs attorney upon the parties in such proportions as the court deems appropriate or as otherwise provided by law. The order appointing an attorney to represent the child shall be in substantially the form set forth in Pa.R.C.P. No. 1915.19.
(b) The court may interview a child, whether or not the child is the subject of the action, in open court or in chambers. The interview shall be conducted in the presence of the attorneys and, if permitted by the court, the parties. The attorneys shall have the right to interview the child under the supervision of the court. The interview shall be part of the record.
(c) Unless otherwise directed by the court, the child who is the subject of the action shall not be required to attend a hearing before the court or a conference.
A party may bring a child to a conference or hearing but, in the absence of an order of court, is not required to do so.
Rule 1915.15(b) provides a form of order to appear at a conference or hearing in an action for custody, partial custody or visitation of minor children. Prior to its recent amendment, the form required that one or more children who are the subject of the action attend the hearing or conference.
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 childs attendance.
Subdivision (c) has been added to Rule 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 Rule 1915.15(b) has been revised to implement this policy.
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. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (368279) to (368280).
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