How to Work With a Guardian Ad Litem

LauraIf your divorce and child custody case involves the appointment of a guardian ad litem, it’s important to remember this is another adult appointed to represent the best interests of the children. In some situations, guardians ad litem are a critical component of how the judge structures a custody decision. Guardians ad litem are responsible for gathering evidence, reviewing the facts, and interacting with children and other parties to make a child custody recommendation. Interacting appropriately with the guardian ad litem may be important for the outcome of your child custody case, so always approach the situation with respect, regardless of how you feel about the other parent.

If either party requests the appointment of a guardian ad litem (GAL), judges will usually approve this request. The GAL reports to the judge what he or she believes to be in the best interests of the children, so do not take this opportunity to overwhelm the GAL with information about your case, particularly if that information involves bashing the other parent. When GALs are appointed, you will generally split the cost for their services with the other parent.

Comply with all requests for information and meetings with the GAL. Being professional and responsive can go a long way in your child custody case. Certainly, too much communication can be taken the wrong way by a GAL, and you must remember that you will pay for that person’s time to review and respond to all your information, too. Always address emails appropriately and read them out loud to ensure they sound professional.

Your GAL is not your enemy. He or she has simply been appointed to provide additional insight to the judge regarding the custody decision. Handling the situation professionally is the best way to approach your contested custody case. To learn more about how custody cases proceed, speak with a qualified Illinois family lawyer today.


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