Guardian ad Litem Lawyers - Joliet, IL
A Guardian ad Litem is a neutral third-party attorney appointed by the court to represent the children’s best interest. The Guardian ad Litem acts as the “eyes and ears” of the court and makes recommendations based on the Best Interests of the children. Typically, a Guardian ad Litem investigates the areas of custody / parental allocation, and visitation / parenting time.
So you’ve been ordered to co-operate with a court-appointed Guardian ad Litem (GAL). Now what?
Firstly, it is important to understand what a Guardian ad Litem is as well as what he/she is not. A GAL is tasked with representing a child’s best interest when the child’s parents are fighting in a divorce or parentage matter.
The court recognizes many factors in assessing a child’s best interest. The GAL is the court’s witness and does not work for either parent. Even though you’ve been ordered to pay the GAL, you have no ability to direct the GAL.
The GAL has to interview each parent and the child/children. Any further investigation may be directed by the judge or be conducted at the GAL’s discretion. The GAL might interview other relatives, teachers and counselors and/or visit one or both parents homes.
Remember, the GAL’s goal is to have two great parents for the children in the case. The GAL may recommend counseling for one or both parties and children, reconciliation counseling for the estranged parent and children, mental health evaluations, drug evaluations and other services for the family.
What a GAL is not: the GAL is NOT your counselor, and is not your friend. While the GAL may be empathetic, he/she must make recommendations solely in the child’s best interest. For example: the GAL will not necessarily care which parent does the driving for parenting time if it doesn’t affect the children.
Importantly, the Judge is the only decision maker. The GAL makes recommendations.