Guardian Ad Litem
Role Of A Guardian Ad Litem
In custody battles, it is common for parents to focus on their own struggles and battles against one another and forget the well-being of the children(ren) should be the top priority. It is easy to see how some parents may not be able to properly judge what is best for the child(ren). While neglecting a child’s best interest may not be intentional, the court has a system in place to ensure a child’s welfare is always protected. The court can appoint a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) to determine the child’s best interest
Reasons a Guardian Ad Litem is appointed
Since the standards for having a GAL appointed will vary by state and jurisdiction, it is hard to generalize when they will be used, however, they are almost always assigned in cases where allegations of abuse or neglect are submitted.
Responsibilities of a Guardian Ad Litem
GAL’s are advocates for minor children. The GAL’s primary duty is to investigate and determine the best interest of the child. The GAL conducts interviews with both parties, the children and third parties including friends, neighbors, teachers, coaches or anyone else who may shed some light on the background of any contested custody issues.
After completing his or her analysis, the GAL submits a recommended report on all issues to the court. The court will place substantial weight on the GAL’s recommendations when making the final ruling.
Dealing with Guardian Ad Litem bias
If you feel the GAL is showing a bias against you, notify your attorney and have the attorney notify the court immediately. You only have a small window to disqualify a GAL, and that is only before the investigation starts.
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