Children’s lawyer hits the ground running
Supporting Island Families -
Catherine Chaisson already had three cases on her desk when she arrived for her first day of work as the province’s new children’s lawyer.
Chaisson, a Dalhousie-educated lawyer, has spent most of her career working with families in conflict. She realizes her new position is an enormous responsibility.
“It’s going to be nice to be a part of such a positive change,” the Emyvale resident explained.
“My interest has always been in family law, with a focus on what’s best for children and to help parents take that perspective when trying to resolve their issues.”
A children’s lawyer acts as a legal representative for individual Island children in custody and access cases. The goal of the children’s lawyer is to protect the needs and interests of children whose parents have separated or divorced and are engaged in custody and access conflict.
When Chaisson represents a child in a custody and access case, her role is to independently represent the needs and interests of the child.
Chaisson has worked for the Prince Edward Island government since 1994 where she was with Health, working with the family support orders program. She worked with the province’s supervised access and exchange program to help eliminate parental conflict, which can be damaging for children.
“Some couples are forever battling everything, they keep going back to court and court ramps up conflict,” she said.
“Parents’ conflict is never in the best interest of the children.”
Because a child’s age determines the appropriate approach to interacting with them, Chaisson says she is researching developmental stages of childhood.
“I want to find out what each specific child is most concerned about when I represent them. I’ll work with their parents to recognize what the children need.”
Chaisson has three children of her own; daughter Jess, 27, and sons Jean-Luc, 16 and Patrick, 14.
Her boys keep her busy with sports like lacrosse, hockey, football, and soccer.
When she’s not working or cheering on the sidelines she is reading whatever she can get her hands on, or in the woods with her Australian Shepherd, Phoebe.
Chaisson’s new office is in the Department of Justice and Public Safety in Charlottetown.
For more information on the role of the children’s lawyer visit https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/information/justice-and-public-safety/what-childrens-lawyer.