When you’re in the middle of a difficult custody battle, it probably already seems like there are already too many people involved in your family’s private business — so it probably seems like an unnecessary complication to add another voice to the mix.
However, a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) may be exactly the voice that the court needs to hear in order to decide custody in your favor — because the GAL is there to speak for your child.
A Guardian Ad Litem is an attorney the court appoints to act as your child’s personal advocate. If you’re certain that any rational person who has all the information about your custody case would decide the issue in your favor, there’s several good reasons to ask the court for a GAL:
- Unlike other participants that may be involved in the case, the GAL is a neutral third-party whose goal is to find the best solution in any custody case for the child.
- He or she not only has the power to look into every aspect of your custody case, it’s actually the GAL’s legal duty to do so. That can be particularly helpful if you feel like nobody in authority is listening to you about a major issue that’s affecting your child’s physical or emotional well-being.
- Unlike educators and daycare providers, who may be reluctant to take sides in a family battle, GALs are accustomed to making recommendations to the court.
In the end, the family court may rely heavily on the opinion of the GAL when making its final decision about custody, so its important to consider all the possibilities that could occur — including the fact that you could lose your case — before you decide to ask the court to appoint one. It’s also important to remember that GALs favor a peaceful resolution with parents cooperating together whenever possible. That means you may need to be willing to compromise your position in order to show your willingness to cooperate — or risk being seen as the “problem” parent who won’t be reasonable.
Is a GAL right for your case? It’s wisest to discuss that question directly with a child custody attorney first, before you request the GAL from the court.
Source: The Children’s Law Center, LLC, “Guardians Ad Litem,” accessed July 13, 2017