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What is a Guardian Ad Litem? 

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Plainfield Family Law Attorney Many people involved in family law cases such as a divorce or child custody dispute have questions about the role of guardians ad litem (GAL's). They misunderstand the purpose of a GAL or confuse a GAL with an actual guardian who takes on a caretaking role.

A guardian ad litem is an individual, typically a trained attorney, who is appointed by the court to represent the best interests of a minor child (or children) in family law matters. A GAL is charged with gathering information from all relevant parties, including parents and family members, and making recommendations to the court about what arrangement would be best for the child or children’s welfare.

Why Was a Guardian Ad Litem Assigned to My Case?

If a GAL was assigned to your case, it might be because the judge in the case wants more information before making a decision. Or, another party involved in the case, such as your child's other parent, may have requested a GAL. Do not worry if a GAL is assigned to your case. The assignment is not a reflection on your or a statement about your parenting. However, it is important to cooperate with the GAL and comply with any requests for documents or information.

What Does a Guardian Ad Litem Do?

A guardian ad litem works as an investigator in a family law case, obtaining additional information and using this information to make an informed recommendation to the court. The investigation may involve:

  • Interviews with the children

  • Interviews with the parents

  • Visits to the homes of the parents

  • Review of medical, school, and other records related to the child’s welfare

The GAL may also attend hearings and provide written reports or oral testimony about their findings. The judge does not have to follow the GAL's recommendation. However, he or she will take the GAL's assessment into consideration when making a decision in your case.

It is important to note that GALs are not appointed to take sides in family court matters. The goal of the GAL is to make unbiased recommendations based on what they believe would be in the child’s best interests. It can be uncomfortable to have someone poking around your home, interviewing your children, or asking you personal questions. However, keep in mind that the GAL is ultimately there to benefit your child.

Contact our Plainfield Family Law Attorney

The Joliet family law attorneys at Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C. understand that legal disputes become even more complicated when a child is involved. Our skilled team provides dependable advice, support, and representation to parents and other family members during divorce, child custody cases, and adoption.

If you are involved in a family law case that involves a guardian ad litem, we can help you understand the process and protect your rights. Call 815-666-1285 today to schedule a consultation with our knowledgeable legal team.


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