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DuPage County Divorce Lawyer: How does the GAL Assist in a Divorce with Children?

One aspect of the divorce case I take seriously is managing the request to the judge for a guardian ad litem in a contested parenting dispute.  Sometimes, there are behavioral and psychological issues in a divorce with one of the parents, that can impact the ability of that parent to safely care for the child or children. A guardian ad litem (GAL) plays a crucial role in divorce cases, particularly when the interests of children are involved. Here’s how they typically assist the court:

  1. Representing the Best Interests of the Child: The primary role of a GAL is to advocate for the best interests of the child or children involved in the divorce. They serve as the voice of the child in court proceedings, ensuring that their needs, wishes, and welfare are considered.
  2. Investigation and Assessment: GALs conduct thorough investigations into the family dynamics, including the living conditions, relationships between the parents and the child, and any other factors that may impact the child’s well-being. This can involve interviewing the child, parents, clinicians, teachers, and other relevant parties, as well as reviewing relevant documents and records.
  3. Recommendations to the Court: Based on their investigation, GALs provide recommendations to the court regarding parenting residential placement and parenting time, and other matters related to the child’s welfare. These recommendations are informed by the GAL’s assessment of what arrangement would be in the child’s best interests.
  4. Monitoring and Advocacy: Throughout the legal process, GALs continue to monitor the child’s situation and advocate for their best interests. This may involve attending court hearings, participating in negotiations between the parents, and ensuring that the child’s needs are being met.
  5. Mediation and Conflict Resolution: GALs may also play a role in mediating disputes between the parents, helping them to reach agreements that are beneficial for the child. By facilitating communication and encouraging cooperation, GALs can often help to reduce conflict and promote a smoother resolution to the divorce proceedings.

Overall, the goal of a guardian ad litem is to ensure that the needs and well-being of the child are prioritized throughout the divorce process, ultimately leading to outcomes that are in the child’s best interests. In my view, active collaboration with the GAL is critical, insofar as most judges place a high degree of weight on the recommendations of the GAL.

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