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Tips for Working With a Guardian Ad Litem in Illinois

Posted on in Family Law

Oak Brook child custody lawyerIllinois has extensive child representation laws to help protect children’s best interests when their parents are divorcing. A court may appoint one of several types of child advocates to investigate before making decisions in proceedings involving child support, custody, visitation, and allocation of parental responsibilities. To represent a child, a court can appoint an attorney, a child representative, or a Guardian Ad Litem.

A Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) is a professional with specialized training to advocate on behalf of children in legal cases. He or she submits a written report that can play a significant role in divorce proceedings and he or she can be called as a witness, so it is common for parents to get nervous when a GAL interviews them. Speak with a divorce attorney who has a rich understanding of a Guardian Ad Litem’s training and responsibilities for help understanding how they fit into your case. In the meantime, here are some tips to increase your chances of making a positive impression on a GAL.

Tips for Working with a Guardian Ad Litem

Despite your best efforts to appear as an infallible parent to a GAL, you should be honest. A GAL will be taking your financial situation, mental health, physical health, and home life into consideration before writing his or her report. It is best to be forthright since there is a good chance that he or she might call your bluff and form a negative impression. For example, if money is an issue, you should work with the court and the GAL office about starting a payment plan. Late payments look more irresponsible than making accommodations for fees.

Many parents make the mistake of pressuring their child to behave or make remarks that paint the parent in a good light. This can poison the atmosphere of a GAL interview and the GAL will probably be able to sense any forced positivity. Persuading your children not to be themselves is also unfair to them. The GAL’s job is simply to report to a court what he or she believes would further a child’s best interests. You should still explain to your child who the GAL is and why he or she is present, but do not try to interrogate your child about anything the GAL asked or said to your child in private. If you have questions of this nature, bring them up with the GAL.

However, even though it is vital to be honest, you should do your best to make a great impression. Make your home impeccably clean, visit the GAL at his or her office, bring recommendation letters from friends and family, and be positive. 

Contact a Naperville Family Law Attorney

At Pesce Law Group, P.C., we have extensive experience representing clients who are filing for divorce, including cases where a child's best interest needs to be considered. Attorney Don Pesce is a qualified Guardian Ad Litem and he applies his knowledge and understanding to help clients succeed in their GAL interviews. To schedule a free consultation with a skilled DuPage County family law attorney, call us today at 630-352-2240.


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