Who (or What) is a Guardian Ad Litem in a Custody Case?

Posted on Jul 9, 2013 by Katie Carter

In an ideal situation, a divorcing couple can agree on a workable Virginia child custody arrangement early in the divorce process to avoid the stresses of drawn out litigation. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen.

Children whose parents are having a difficult time agreeing about Virginia child custody may benefit from a guardian ad litem. A guardian ad litem is an attorney that is responsible for representing the child involved in the case. The term guardian ad litem means “guardian for the suit”.

Simply put, the guardian ad litem is the child’s attorney, who doesn’t work for either parent’s legal counsel, but operates independently to stand up for the rights and needs of the child in the case.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that the guardian ad litem will simply advocate for what the child wants; rather he or she will help the court determine what would be in the best interests of the child.

In a Virginia child custody case, a guardian ad litem might hold interviews with the parents and other interested parties, conduct research regarding the people in the child’s life, and sometimes even make home visits.

The court doesn’t always appoint a guardian ad litem during a Virginia child custody case. It’s mainly reserved for cases where the parents are arguing over custody, or where there are issues that complicate the case. Guardian ad litem’s are also appointed in cases in which child abuse has played a role.

Contacting a Virginia Divorce Attorney

At Hofheimer Family Law Firm, we understand that the health and happiness of your children is your #1 concern. We will work with you to address any fears and anxieties you may have about your children’s future. Our women’s-only divorce attorneys will guide you every step of the way to ensure that you achieve the best possible child custody and child support arrangements for you and your children.

To learn more about your Virginia divorce, request a FREE copy of our guide, What Every Virginia Woman Should Know About Divorce, or reserve your seat at our monthly divorce seminar – 757-425-5200.