How Will a Guardian Ad Litem Affect an Illinois Child Custody Case?
In family law cases involving children, parents will often disagree about the best ways to handle child custody. While some divorcing parents may be able to resolve their differences and reach agreements on these issues, this is not always possible. In cases involving contentious disputes between parents or other situations where outside help may be needed to make custody-related decisions, a guardian ad litem may be appointed. By understanding the duties of a guardian ad litem and how they may influence a child custody case, parents can determine the best ways to protect their rights and address their children’s best interests.
What Does a Guardian Ad Litem Do?
When parents cannot reach agreements about how they will share in the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, they may leave the final decisions on these matters up to the judge who oversees their case. However, a judge may be concerned that they do not have enough information to determine what would be in the children’s best interests. To gain a better insight into the case, the judge may appoint a guardian ad litem (also known as a GAL). Either parent may also ask that a GAL be appointed if they believe that it would be necessary.
A guardian ad litem is an attorney who will be tasked with representing the best interests of the children in a divorce or family law case. While parents will usually divide the costs of the GAL’s services, the GAL will not represent either party. Instead, they will be focused on determining how the outstanding issues in the case can be resolved in a way that will best provide for children’s needs while ensuring that they can maintain close relationships with both parents.
To gather the necessary information about a case, a guardian ad litem will usually speak to both parents independently, asking about their desires regarding how child custody should be handled, the level of involvement they have had when raising their children in the past, and any concerns they may have about their children’s health, safety, and well-being. The GAL will also speak to the children to gain an understanding of their desires and any concerns they may have about their relationships with their parents. During their investigation, the guardian ad litem will usually visit each parent’s home and observe the parents’ interactions with their children, and they may also contact others who can provide information about the case, such as teachers, child care providers, doctors, psychologists, or extended family members.
After completing their investigation, the guardian ad litem will submit a report to the court, and they will offer recommendations about how they believe the outstanding issues related to child custody should be resolved. The GAL may also testify in court hearings and answer questions about their recommendations. While a judge is not required to follow the GAL’s recommendations, their opinion will often be given significant weight when making the final decisions about child custody.
Contact Our Oakbrook Terrace Child Custody Lawyers
If you are struggling to resolve issues related to child custody during your divorce, the attorneys of Farooqi & Husain Law Office can advise you on whether asking for a guardian ad litem to be appointed may be a good idea. We can also help you understand the best ways to work with a GAL and show that you will be able to provide for your children’s best interests. To get legal help with matters related to divorce and child custody, contact our DuPage County family law attorneys by calling 630-909-9114.