One of the options available to the court in a disputed child custody case is to appoint a Guardian Ad Litem. This can be beneficial to the parents but you need to remember that the Guardian Ad Litem does not represent either parent. The Guardian Ad Litem is an attorney who has completed specialized training in child custody cases. The role of the Guardian Ad Litem is to represent the child and make a recommendation to the Court as to what he/she feels is best for the child.
The Court may appoint a Guardian Ad Litem in any custody case where the Court feels that it would be helpful to have this report. In addition, either parent may request that a Guardian Ad Litem be appointed. If a parent requests that a Guardian Ad Litem be appointed, the Court may require that the parents split the cost of the Guardian Ad Litem. If you are involved in a custody dispute, you may want to request the appointment of the Guardian Ad Litem as this will allow the Court to hear from a disinterested person. The report of the Guardian Ad Litem will carry great weight with the Court since the attorney is not representing either parent.
If a Guardian Ad Litem is appointed in your case, you need to fully cooperate with him/her. The Guardian Ad Litem should meet with the child(ren) at your home and must be allowed to talk to the child(ren) with out you being present. Normally, the Guardian Ad Litem will meet with the child at both parent's home but at a minimum, he/she should visit both homes unless one parent lives out of state. The Guardian Ad Litem also has the authority to meet with the child's teachers, day care providers and doctors or therapists. He/she may also obtain medical records and school records.
You should raise any concerns you have with the Guardian Ad Litem but remember that he/she represents the child, not you. Want to talk to an attorney? Give us a call at (757) 340-3100!