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What Should I Know About Guardian Ad Litem?

 Posted on January 18, 2024 in Family Law

DuPage County child representation attorneyDivorce can sometimes turn two people who once believed they would spend their entire lives together into people who cannot even communicate with each other. When a couple going through a divorce feels this way, it can be extremely difficult for them to focus on working together for the sake of their children. Even parents who have always prioritized their children’s best interests can often feel like they are in survival mode, too distracted, exhausted, and hurt by what is happening, even to be able to consider that their child may want something different than what they want for them

In cases where there is concern that the children’s interests are not being given a voice, a guardian ad litem (GAL) can be assigned. This is a specialized attorney often appointed to advocate for children during custody disputes, incidents of domestic abuse, or child support issues. If you are concerned that your children’s interests are not being represented in your divorce, a Wheaton, IL child representation lawyer can explain how a GAL might be able to help.

What Does a Guardian Ad Litem Do?

Anytime someone is involved in a legal suit but is unable to represent their interests sufficiently, a guardian ad litem (GAL) is appointed to do that on their behalf. Generally, they are appointed during divorce cases to advocate for the best outcome that would benefit the children’s best interests. A GAL can be something you voluntarily incorporate; they can be appointed at the request of either parent getting divorced or something forced on you - if the judge determines that children require further support and representation.

Sometimes, divorce proceedings can be contentious enough that a GAL is needed to make sure the court is given accurate information about the child’s home life and well-being. Sometimes, one parent may feel the other parent is misrepresenting the kind of life they can offer the children, and they can request a guardian ad litem to find out what is truly happening and report back to the court.

In deciding what is in the child’s best interest, a GAL will generally speak with people who can offer insight on the situation, including:

  • The child
  • The parents
  • The child’s teachers
  • The child’s pediatrician
  • The school nurse
  • The school guidance counselor
  • The child’s neighbors
  • The people who run the child’s extracurricular activities (for example, a soccer coach, ballet teacher, karate instructor, etc.)

Schedule a Free Consultation With a Dupage County, IL Child Representation Attorney

Divorce can be painful, but some resources can help limit the pain. A GAL is a resource that can help your child feel seen and heard and help you ensure that the child’s best interests are being fought for. If you are getting divorced and doubt your ability to advocate sufficiently on your child’s behalf, a Wheaton, IL family lawyer can help. At [[title], we have experience serving as GALs in sensitive cases. Please call 630-657-5052 to schedule a free consultation so that we can figure out the best way forward for you and your children.

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