Pesce Law Group, P.C.

FREE CONSULTATIONS 630-352-2240

Naperville | Oak Brook | Burr Ridge | Lake Forest | St. Charles

Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in guardian ad litem

DuPage County child custody attorneysDivorcing and unmarried parents sometimes have disagreements about the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time. When these disagreements require court intervention, an Illinois family court judge may appoint an attorney called a guardian ad litem who is tasked with representing the child’s interests. A parent involved in a child custody dispute may also request a guardian ad litem (GAL) to appointed during a child-related legal dispute.

Guardian ad Litem Investigations

GALs are often appointed in family law cases involving especially contentious child-related disputes or allegations of domestic violence. Because children cannot adequately advocate for their own best interests in court, a guardian ad litem advocates on the child’s behalf. The GAL will typically conduct an investigation in order to learn more about the circumstances of the dispute so that he or she can offer an informed recommendation to the court. This can include investigating the parents’ homes and everyday lives as well as investigation of other individuals important to the case. The GAL may also interview school officials or other people involved in the child’s life. He or she may review court documents, financial statements, the child’s school reports, and other relevant documents.

Making a Recommendation to the Court

Once the guardian ad litem has conducted a thorough investigation, he or she will use all of the information gathered to decide what he or she thinks is best for the child with regard to the child custody case. The GAL then makes a formal recommendation to the court explaining his or her findings. GALs receive special training and are considered expert witnesses during legal proceedings. Although the court is not mandated to follow the GAL’s recommendation, courts typically put a great deal of importance on the GAL’s advice.

...

Naperville family law attorneyWhen parents get divorced or unmarried parents have a child together, there are often disagreements regarding issues of child custody and visitation. In Illinois, child custody is called the “allocation of parental responsibilities” and visitation is called “parenting time.” If you and your former spouse or partner have disputes about parenting time or parental responsibilities, you may require court intervention to help solve these problems. Illinois family court judges sometimes appoint a specially-trained attorney to help when parents have disputes regarding children. Typically, the attorney serves in one of three roles: child representative, attorney for the child, or guardian ad litem. Read on to learn more about the most common of these specially-trained attorneys, a guardian ad litem.

What Is the Purpose of a Guardian ad Litem?

Courts generally appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL) to represent the interests of a child, infant, unborn child, or other person who cannot advocate for themselves. The job of a GAL in a child custody case is to protect the legal rights of the child or children involved in the dispute. He or she will investigate the lives of each parent and anyone else relevant to the case. This may include interviewing parents and other parties, as well as visiting the child’s home and school and reviewing relevant documents. The GAL will then use this information to make a recommendation to the court about what he or she thinks is the best course of action moving forward.

Does the Court Have to Follow the Guardian ad Litem’s Recommendation?

Not just anyone can be appointed to act as guardian ad litem in a child custody case. An attorney acting as a GAL must have special training and education. Because of this, the information presented by the GAL is considered expert witness testimony. Although the court is not required to follow the recommendation presented by the GAL, this recommendation carries significant weight. Each party will have an opportunity to cross-examine the GAL about his or her findings in court.

...

Naperville family law attorneyWhen you are involved in a legal dispute regarding your child, you know how important it is to keep the focus on his or her best interests. That being said, it is often incredibly difficult for parents to separate what they want from what is truly best for the child. It is also common for each parent to have a different opinion about what the child actually needs. If the parents cannot work out their differences and create a reasonable parenting arrangement, the court will be required to make the decisions for them. In some situations, the court may appoint a specially-trained lawyer known as a guardian ad litem to assist with the case.

What Does a Guardian ad Litem Do?

The guardian ad litem, or GAL, in a child-related legal matter, is a lawyer appointed by the court to identify and advocate for the child’s best interests. Despite his or her qualifications as an attorney, the GAL does not formally represent the child. Instead, he or she is tasked by the court with conducting a full investigation into the family’s circumstances and the home environment that each parent offers the child. The investigation normally includes interviews with each parent, the child, and any other relevant individuals, along with an in-depth review of financial records, court transcripts, and all other pertinent documents.

...
Back to Top