If your custody case is OUTSIDE of Bernalillo County, chances are, at some point someone will mention an Advisory Consultant. In Bernalillo County, oftentimes families/parties are referred to the Court Clinic. The Court Clinic plays an integral part in custody decisions in many cases. However what happens when you don't live in Albuquerque?
If your case is in Valencia County, Sandoval County, or Cibola County you don't have access to a court clinic to help determine custody arrangements. Instead when parties reach an impasse they may be ordered to meet with an "Advisory Consultant". This is a third party who interviews the parties, the children, sometimes teachers, grandparents, and other "collateral" witnesses.
The Advisory Consultant will then issue a written report and recommendations. The court will usually adopt these recommendations without a hearing. If a parent wants to contest the recommendations, the parent must file objections within ten days.
In the 13th Judicial District which encompasses the above named counties, the court will pay a portion of the Advisory Consultant's fees. An Advisory Consultant or similar mechanism is used in many of the district courts outside of Albuquerque.
An Advisory Consultant is not the same as a Guardian Ad Litem. A GAL is an attorney with experience in child abuse/neglect and contentious custody cases. The GAL represents the child.
An Advisory Consultant is usually not a lawyer but a trained mediator. This person is tasked with crafting a parenting plan which both parents will hopefully accept and is ultimately in the child or children's best interests.
The point of an advisory consultant or other similar option to provide parents with something akin to a custody evaluation without the huge expense and hopefully contention.
If you further questions, please contact me.