What is a guardian ad litem?

A guardian ad litem is an attorney appointed by the court who has the sole task of representing a child during a court proceeding. Guardian ad litem is Latin for law guardian. Under Virginia child custody laws, a guardian ad litem may be appointed during your divorce or child custody trial when a child’s best interests may otherwise be overlooked.

For example, your Virginia divorce case may require a guardian ad litem to represent the interests of your child if there is dispute among both parents’ claims for custody. A guardian ad litem is always appointed when there are allegations of abuse or neglect concerning the child.

A guardian ad litem is also sometimes appointed for the simple means of obtaining an unbiased look at both sides of the case
. The guardian ad litem in your Virginia divorce case has the right to:

  • make home visits;
  • speak with anyone involved with the child regarding their well-being;
  • make suggestions as to placement, visitation and other matters in the best interest of the child; and
  • subpoena witnesses to testify in court to substantiate findings.

The guardian ad litem will provide a report detailing their findings and recommendations for the child’s custody during your Virginia divorce hearing.

When speaking with a guardian ad litem you should be careful to stick to factual statements and avoid focusing on the shortcomings of the other parent
. There is no confidentiality with a guardian ad litem, and any communications may be used against you in your Virginia divorce trial proceedings.

The attorneys at Hofheimer Family Law Firm have experience helping women through a variety of child custody and divorce proceedings. Contact us today to schedule a legal consultation – (757) 425-5200.