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Should You Ask for Guardian ad Litem to be Appointed?

Posted on in Family Law

Naperville family law attorney“The best interests of the child” is one of the most common phrases in the realm of family law. A child’s well-being, of course, should remain among the top priorities in proceedings for divorce, allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting time, non-parent visitation, and adoption. The challenge, however, is that determining what exactly constitutes a child’s best interests is open to interpretation. As such, each parent may fully believe that they are acting in their child’s best interests yet hold vastly different objectives regarding the outcome of the case.

Helping the Process

When you and your child’s other parent cannot agree on a parenting plan or other arrangements regarding your child, the court is likely to offer several options. To start with, you may be required to participate in court-ordered mediation designed to help you and the other parent reach an agreement with the help of a third-party mediator. Mediation, however, is only possible in situations where both parties are willing and able to work constructively with one another.

Alternatively, the court may appoint a specially-trained and certified attorney—not one who is representing either you or the other party—to serve as a guardian ad litem. The guardian ad litem will be expected to investigate your family’s circumstances to develop and outside, objective opinion of what the child’s best interests are. Based on his or her findings, the guardian ad litem will make a recommendation to the court regarding the most appropriate outcome for the case.

Your Right to Request a GAL

Illinois law permits the court to appoint a guardian ad litem, or GAL, both on its own or as the result of a motion by any involved party. This means that if you believe that you are acting in your child’s best interests but the other parent is not, you may consider asking the court to appoint a GAL to your case. Keep in mind that asking for a guardian ad litem does not give you any formal leverage during the proceedings. As a representative of the court, the GAL must focus on the facts of the case, and, while your willingness to cooperate will help prove your dedication to your child’s best interest, it is only one of many factors he or she will consider.

Speak to a Qualified Guardian ad Litem

Attorney Don Pesce has been trained to serve as a guardian ad litem in child-related cases in DuPage County. He is available to answer your questions and to help you better understand the legal process. Contact an experienced Naperville family law attorney at Pesce Law Group, P.C. by calling 630-352-2240 for a free confidential consultation today.


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