It is not uncommon in family law practices for family lawyers to fill the role as guardian ad litem for a child. Guardian ad litem is the child’s representative in the family law court, and he or she plays a critical role in ensuring the best interest of the child is provided to the court.
Naperville family lawyers that take on the role of the guardian ad litem (GAL) that is appointed by the court. In Naperville, Bolingbrook and the surrounding areas, the family court judge makes the determination if a GAL is required in a specific divorce or custody case. In most situations, if there is a history of domestic abuse, child abuse or neglect, or if there is significant conflict between the parents, a GAL is appointed.
The Role of the Guardian Ad Litem
Unlike a divorce attorney, the GAL does more than just represent the child in the court. In Naperville, and as defined throughout the state of Illinois, the role of the GAL is very specific. He or she starts by completing a comprehensive investigation into the parents.
The information obtained from this comprehensive investigation is presented to the court. It is in the form of an opinion and a subsequent recommendation as to the custody of the child. This includes recommending joint custody between the parents, or determining sole custody, and also making recommendations as to visitation for the other parent.
The GAL will consider issues and make recommendations in consultation with other professionals. This can include the GAL speaking with school staff, other relatives, doctors, neighbors, and other people who interact with the child.
The GAL attends all legal procedures relating to the custody case. There may be times when the GAL is not required to attend the court or legal proceeding, and these are often issues that are not related to child custody.
If a GAL is appointed, the family lawyers for each parent will explain the role of the GAL. Each parent should expect to be interviewed by the GAL, and it is in the best interest of the parent to provide any necessary information to assist in the preparation of the GAL’s recommendation. While not required in all cases, a GAL may require a criminal background check on the parents.
The GAL may testify in court as well as act as an advocate for the child. He or she will also speak with the child and complete a home-study as part of their required services.
If you have any questions about how our attorneys can help you with your family law matters, contact Keller Legal Services online.