The Family Court Judge tells you that you must have an attorney for your child. This comes as a shock to many parents who have a child charged with a criminal offense. Attorneys can be expensive, and this is true as well for representation of juveniles. So many people ask, “Can I represent my child in Family Court?”
The answer to this question is relatively simple. The answer is “No.” Why is that? Adults have a constitutional right in South Carolina to represent themselves even in capital cases. Juveniles have all of the same rights, but must have a guardian make specific decisions for them when they are underage.
While their parent or guardian can make decisions on their behalf in many other respect, the parent or guardian cannot speak on the juvenile’s behalf as a representative in court, because that would be considered practicing law without a license. South Carolina has strict rules on this, and even a business owner cannot represent his own company if the entity is not a sole proprietorship. Therefore, simply put, a parent cannot represent his or her child in family court.
So what to do? Make sure you’ve applied for the public defender. If you don’t qualify, call us and let’s set up a consultation. Many times, we can work out an affordable payment plan with options to make it possible to be able to obtain an experienced attorney to represent your son or daughter in family court.