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guardian ad litem, Lombard family law attorneyWhile many divorcing parents are able to reach a reasonable agreement regarding parental responsibilities and parenting time, many others simply are not. In some cases, the parents are unable to put aside their personal differences and focus on the needs of the child. In others, each parent may have the absolute best intentions but are having difficulty compromising with one another. When proceedings for the allocation of parental responsibilities or other child-related concerns encounter such obstacles, the court may appoint a specially-trained lawyer to serve as guardian ad litem (GAL) for the duration of the case.

The GAL’s Role

A guardian ad litem acts essentially as an extension of the court. He or she is granted investigative powers to study the circumstances of the family and the child in question. The GAL may interview the child, each parent, siblings, and other relevant parties, as well as review court transcripts, financial documents, and any other evidence that may be helpful. Upon completing the investigation, the GAL prepares a recommendation for the court, based on what he or she believes would be the ideal situation for the child.


child representative, family law, Illinois family law attorneysA few weeks ago, a post on this blog discussed the role and responsibilities of a court-appointed guardian ad litem, or GAL. However, the GAL is just one of several appointments that may be made by the court to assist with child-related legal proceedings, such as those for custody, visitation, or support. In place of a GAL, the court may appoint either an attorney for the child or a child representative, two roles that may sound very similar, but are, in fact, quite different from one another.

Attorney for the Child

A lawyer appointed as an attorney for the child is exactly that. He or she is the assigned legal counsel for the child as a separate party to the case. The normal attorney-client rules of confidentiality and procedure apply, meaning that the attorney is bound by his or her client’s wishes, regardless of the ability of the child to recognize their appropriateness. For this reason, an attorney for the child is not very likely to be appointed unless the court identifies that a minor child is mature enough to make considered, reasonable decisions.


guardian ad litem, Illinois law, Arlington Heights family law attorneyIf the court presiding over your child custody or visitation dispute has appointed a guardian ad litem to your case, it is important to recognize the significance of such an appointment. It is also helpful to understand the guardian ad litem’s role so that you can be prepared to work closely with him or her in the fulfillment of the assigned duties. When utilized properly, a guardian ad litem can be a valuable resource in finding a workable, healthy resolution to any child-related legal matter.

What is a Guardian ad Litem?

Under Illinois law, only a qualified attorney can be appointed as a guardian ad litem (GAL) in family law cases. The attorney must also be properly trained and certified to serve in such a capacity, as required by the county or jurisdiction. Once appointed, the GAL works as an extension of the court and not as legal counsel for any party to the case. He or she is expected to determine a recommended outcome that will serve the best interests of the child and then to present that information to the court as, essentially, an expert witness.


Posted on in Divorce

Sometimes people use acronyms to shorten a phrase or term. The following terms are commonly used in matters of divorce, especially when there are children involved. When you do not understand certain terms, ask your attorney. Knowledgeable divorce attorneys  take time to explain each aspect of the process and properly prepare you for the road ahead.

Illinois divorceWhat is a TRO?

A temporary restraining order (TRO) temporarily halts a specific type of activity. In a divorce, it is sometimes used to keep a party from selling off, donating or transferring ownership of marital property. Such orders are requested to handle emergent situations such as:

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