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What Is the Role of a Guardian ad Litem in an Illinois Child Custody Case?

Posted on in Child Custody

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.

Contact a Naperville Family Law Attorney

Guardians ad litem can be beneficial advocates for children during child custody disputes and other family law proceedings. However, a guardian ad litem does not eliminate the need for parents to retain their own attorneys. To learn more about the functions of a guardian ad litem or to discuss whether or not you should request a guardian ad litem, contact Pesce Law Group, P.C. We will help you determine what actions will give you the greatest chances of reaching a parenting arrangement that serves your child’s best interests. Call our office today at 630-352-2240 to set up a free, confidential consultation with an experienced DuPage County child custody lawyer from our firm.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=2086&ChapterID=59

http://www.cookcountycourt.org/ABOUTTHECOURT/CountyDepartment/DomesticRelationsDivision/ChildRepGuardianAdLitemGAL.aspx

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