How Will a Guardian ad Litem Affect Your Child Custody Case?
Children are often the subject of the bitterest disagreements during a divorce. Sometimes the parents’ divorce petitions and testimony in court wildly contradict each other about the children’s behavior and wishes. For this reason, the courts sometimes ask children to testify, but this practice has its own problems. Teenagers might have a clear preference about how much time they want to spend with each parent and be able to articulate this preference, but younger children often find the experience scary, and their testimony is not always reliable. For that reason, the courts sometimes appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the best interests of the children during a child custody case.
What Qualifications Does a Guardian ad Litem Have?
The guardian ad litem is a volunteer, not a bureaucrat; each guardian ad litem works with only one family at a time. Therefore, you never have to worry about a guardian ad litem being overburdened with cases or apathetic. Every guardian ad litem must complete a training course designed by the court before taking on a guardian ad litem case. Beyond that, their professional backgrounds vary greatly, but they have all chosen their line of volunteer work because they care about children. Some have worked as teachers, others as pediatricians, and others in almost any other line of work you can imagine.
How Much Control Does the Guardian ad Litem Have Over Your Child?
Your children will not live with the guardian ad litem, even temporarily. Your temporary or permanent parenting plan will determine where your children spend their time. Children do not have to be in foster care to be assigned a guardian ad litem; they stay with you and have visits with your former spouse just as they did before the guardian ad litem got involved.
The guardian ad litem’s job is to collect information about your child and to present it to the court in the most neutral way possible, in order to help the judge make the best decision about the children’s best interests. The guardian ad litem may find this information by talking to you and your former spouse, as well as other people who interact with your children, such as teachers, daycare workers, and pediatricians. If the children are old enough, the guardian ad litem may also talk to them about their lives with you and your ex-spouse.
The Guardian ad Litem Is Not Your Enemy
The court-appointed guardian ad litem is not there to take parenting time away from you or to make you look like a bad parent. If you disagree with anything in a report presented by the guardian ad litem, you should talk to your lawyer about raising this objection in court.
Let Us Help You Today
Even if the court has appointed a guardian ad litem to represent your children’s interests, you still need a child custody lawyer to represent yours. Contact the Boca Raton divorce lawyers at Schwartz | White about your case.