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What Role Does a Guardian Ad Litem Play in Illinois Divorce?

 Posted on December 07, 2023 in Child Custody

DuPage County Family Law Attorney

Divorce can be an extremely difficult process for a couple to go through. When the couple are parents, it can be even more complicated for the entire family. Sometimes, a couple can get divorced amicably. They recognize that they should not remain together as a married couple, but they are still able to communicate productively and try to figure out how their entire family’s best interests can be served. Other times, the divorce is more acrimonious. The people who once married each other now consider each other the enemy and they are no longer able to even sit in the same room peacefully. In cases like this, when the parents simply are unable to forge a parenting plan together, a guardian ad litem, or GAL, might be appointed by the court to try to determine what would be in the child’s best interests. If you believe you are headed toward an acrimonious divorce and you have questions about how a court-appointed GAL might affect your divorce, an experienced Naperville, IL divorce lawyer can walk you through the entire process and answer your questions. 

What Does a Gal Do?

When parents go through divorce in the State of Illinois, one of the many things they need to agree on is called a parenting plan. This is an outline of how parental rights and parental responsibilities will be divided among the two parents. Unfortunately, in many divorces, the two parents cannot seem to agree on anything. Their strained relationship makes it impossible for them to communicate in a healthy, productive way, even when it comes to what would be best for their children. 

A guardian ad litem (GAL) is someone appointed by the court to help understand the best way to resolve any issues that involve children. They are generally appointed to try to determine what would be in the child’s best interests. The ultimate goal of a GAL is for the child they are representing to end up in a healthy and safe environment.

How Does a Gal Determine What Is in the Child’s Best Interest?

Since their goal is to try to ascertain what sort of arrangement would be in the child’s best interest, a GAL generally does the following before drawing any conclusions:

  • Speak with the child.

  • Speak with the mother.

  • Speak with the father.

  • Check whether either parent has a criminal background.

  • Visit the child’s home environment.

  • Speak with other people involved in the child’s life, including teachers, guidance counselors, the school nurse, their pediatrician, or neighbors.

  • Review the child’s school and/or medical records.

Once they believe they have a clear understanding of the child’s situation and environment, they will write a report to be submitted to a judge. While this report is a recommendation that is not legally binding, judges generally take it into consideration when deciding their rulings. 

Schedule a Free Consultation with a DuPage County, IL Family Law Attorney

If you believe an acrimonious divorce is in your future and you are concerned that your child’s best interests might not come through clearly during the proceeding, a GAL might be a good fit for your case. A qualified GAL will make sure that your child’s voice is heard and will advocate to ensure they get what is in their best interest. A knowledgeable Naperville, IL divorce lawyer can make sure your children end up in a safe and healthy environment. At Pesce Law Group, P.C., we have a certified GAL on staff whose extensive experience in similar cases makes him an excellent advocate for children’s needs. Please call 630-352-2240 today to schedule a free consultation.


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