Thursday, October 9, 2014

What are the responsibilities of a legal aid?

Q: I am in a custody battle with my abusive ex. I recently had to request a new legal aid because my previous attorney did not speak to me for a year, except for five minute visits before court. She offered me no support or guidance, and my visitations were suspended due to her negligence. 

I am wondering exactly what services are legal aides supposed to provide, their responsibilities to their clients, their responsibilities to their edict, their profession. 

My children's lawyer asked for two lawyers to be assigned to the children, one for each child, but she was denied her request. Was it in the best interests of the children for her to continue representing both children after expressing overwhelm? What responsibility is she overlooking? Is it in the child's best interest for her to avoid communications with parents, and completely disregard the father's reluctance to provide reports about their homeschooling?

A: David's Answer: There are indeed guidelines governing the representation of indigent person by assigned counsel in Family Court. They may be found here: If you believe your lawyer provided inadequate representation, you can request assignment of a new lawyer and/or file a grievance with the Bar Association.  - David Bliven, Bronx Family Law attorney (

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