Divorces are hard. It’s a simple truth, and even when parents try to remain friendly and agreeable, there are times when they fail to do so. Custody issues can bring out the worst in even the best parent, and when the stress is high and emotions are strained, the court wants to look out for the best interest of the children in the middle. While this doesn’t always happen, the court can decide to appoint a representative to advocate for the best interest of the children involved in the case.
What Is a Guardian Ad Litem?
A Guardian ad Litem is an officer of the court sometimes appointed to represent the interests of a child during divorce proceedings, particularly during the custody phase. A Guardian ad Litem is typically assigned when the divorcing couple and their respective legal counsel has reached an impasse and cannot agree on custody terms. The Guardian ad Litem will review the details of the case and help the court examine the situation and make recommendations as needed. Their sole concern is what is best for the child, and to that end, they will make recommendation regarding the best arrangement for the court to use in preparation of a custody order for the child.
How Does a Guardian Ad Litem Make Recommendations?
The Guardian ad Litem assigned to your case has one mission: to make a recommendation to the family court system regarding the best custodial situation for your child. Because they are not assigned in every custody situation, there isn’t a set standard of factors that impact their decision.
A Guardian ad Litem will:
- Investigate to gather details regarding your case
- Interview your child if such is appropriate (based on age)
- Interview each parent
- Review the child’s medical history
- Interview teachers, witnesses, and other people close to the situation
- Present a fact-based, unbiased assessment to the court of your case
- Make a recommendation regarding custody based on their investigation
The Guardian ad Litem wants to get the best possible overview of your situation. They are not biased and have no side in the matter because they are not affiliated with either party’s legal team. The judge will review the recommendations and all the evidence gathered by the court officer before hearing testimony and rendering a decision.
What Should You Do If a Guardian Ad Litem is Assigned to Your Case?
The recommendations made by the guardian ad litem weigh heavily with the court, so you should make certain you are communicative and helpful when asked to provide information during their investigation. You should be easy to reach and respond to request in a timely manner. Keeping your child’s best interest at heart is the most important thing you can do in a divorce. At Palmer Rodak & Associates, we can help you begin the divorce process by creating a temporary custody agreement. Call us today at (760) 573-2223 to schedule a consultation.