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What if a Guardian ad Litem Is Assigned to My Child Custody Case?

 Posted on January 21, 2021 in Child Custody

DuPage County family law attorney guardian ad litem

Many of the most important issues that must be resolved during the divorce process are related to the couple’s children, including parenting time, parental responsibilities, and child support. Often, divorcing parents place their children’s best interests as a high priority, and they may even be willing to work together to agree on a parenting plan without the court’s intervention. However, sometimes child-related issues in a divorce can be much more contentious, and the court may enlist the services of a guardian ad litem (GAL) to ensure that all decisions made are in the best interests of the children. If the court has assigned a guardian ad litem in your divorce, it is important for you to know what to expect.

What Does a Guardian ad Litem Do in Illinois?

One of a guardian ad litem’s most important responsibilities is to thoroughly investigate the case to which they are assigned and the issues at hand to gain an understanding of what would be in the child’s best interests. As part of this investigation, the GAL will interview the child and both parents, and they may also interview relatives, teachers, and other parties who have a relevant perspective, as well as request additional information regarding the child’s education and medical care and the parents’ criminal history.

After completing the investigation, the GAL will typically create a written report to submit to the court in which they recommend a resolution that provides for the child’s best interests. The GAL may also be called to testify as a witness in a hearing or trial. Importantly, a GAL’s role is to provide information and a well-informed recommendation, but not to advocate for the child in the same capacity as an attorney. In some cases, however, the court will assign a child representative instead of a GAL. This representative is authorized to both investigate the facts of the case and to advocate on the child’s behalf in litigation.

Handling Interactions With a Guardian ad Litem

As a parent, it can be stressful to know that a GAL will be interviewing you and investigating your child’s best interests, but you can help the investigation proceed more positively by preparing for your interview, being honest and civil in your conversations, and responding promptly to the GAL’s requests for additional information. Your own attorney can also advise you on how to handle the investigation to help you achieve an outcome that protects your interests as well as those of your child. You should also be aware that if the court assigns a GAL or child representative, the cost of their services may be included as part of your court fees.

Contact a DuPage County Family Law Attorney

At A. Traub & Associates, our attorneys are experienced and certified guardians ad litem, and with our understanding of this important role, we can help you understand how a GAL can affect your case involving divorce, child custody, or other child-related matters. Contact our dedicated Lombard child custody lawyers today at 630-426-0196 to learn more about the services we can offer you and your family.




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