Lawyer Monthly - July 2022

About Nuno Cardoso-Ribeiro has been a divorce and family lawyer since 2000 and is both co-founder and president of the board of the Portuguese Association of Family Lawyers. He is also a fellow at the International Association of Family Lawyers (IAFL) and a member of the Union International des Avocats (UIA). In addition to authoring multiple articles on divorce and family law, which are regularly published in Portuguese national and regional newspapers, Nuno is also a frequent speaker on family and labour law at a variety of conferences and events. His practice focuses primarily on divorce and child custody cases. Divórcio & Família is a family and divorce law firm coordinated by Nuno Cardoso-Ribeiro. Its team provides specialised legal support in divorce, asset division, child and custody arrangements, spousal maintenance, family home and inheritance issues, offering a variety of additional globally accessible services in the family and divorce law space. Nuno Cardoso-Ribeiro Attorney Divórcio & Família Av. Dom João II 35 5E, 1990-083 Lisboa, Portugal Tel: +351 218 952 028 +351 924 030 919 E: aimed at the multidisciplinary training of lawyers is very difficult to find – after all, we are talking about areas of expertise as technical and advanced as psychology, paediatrics and child psychiatry, among others. Our mission, nonetheless, goes beyond specialised training: we aim to bring together all legal professionals who act in this area to promote ethical and deontological values able to guide our professional activity, thus ensuring the promotion of the important interests we are intended to safeguard – those of the children. In the future, we hope this goal leads to an intervention at the legislative level, both through the regulation of family law codes of conduct and through the amendment of family and succession law. How do you see the role of the child lawyer? In addition to the ethical obligation of lawyers who take part in family and children court cases to defend children’s best interests, there are also some of us who are called upon to play the role of the child’s lawyer. This prerogative results from the European Convention on the Exercise of Children’s Rights, which recognises the child’s right to be represented by a lawyer in cases where a conflict of interests precludes the parents to represent the child. Despite the fact that this prerogative is duly regulated in national law, the appointment of a child’s lawyer, either directly by the court or by the child’s and/or the parents’ initiative, is still rare. However, it is a part of an important battery of child participation rights (as is also the child’s right to be consulted and express his or her views in proceedings before a judicial authority affecting him or her), of which the Portuguese magistrates and lawyers are increasingly aware. In this sense, the child’s hearing in judicial proceedings is increasingly frequent, even when the child is not yet 12 years old. Frankly, this is good news, as it is very important to ensure children do not see the judicial proceedings as an imposition to their life that is totally divorced from their reality, consideration and feelings. It can only be a good thing if children feel safe to participate and be heard, understanding that they can speak their mind truly and without guilt, as the process outcome does not rely on their will, but rather on the safeguarding of their rights. To minimise the triggering of feelings of anxiety and guilt in the children during the audit, namely the aggravation of loyalty conflicts between parents, our magistrates receive specific training to successfully lead the child’s hearing and work with the assistance and support of other specialised professionals, including psychologists, doctors and social workers. As discussed above, we at the AFFC hope to provide our associates with equivalent training, so that the children may be accompanied at their hearing by their own lawyers. 49 JUL 2022 | WWW.LAWYER-MONTHLY.COM EXPERT INSIGHT

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