The guardian ad litem, or custody evaluator, is an attorney appointed by the court to monitor you, your ex, and the environment surrounding your child while your Virginia child custody case is active. Their purpose is to help the court make a ruling that will be in the best interest of the child.
The guardian ad litem will make sure the court is aware of your child’s wishes. In some cases, the judge likes to talk to the children personally, often in judge’s chambers without the parents or lawyers. The guardian ad litem will probably be present, as well as the court reporter, in order to accurately document what is said.
However, some judges do not wish to speak with the children, and the guardian ad litem will act as their mouthpiece. Do not worry, they are required to express whatever the child wants whether or not they would advise for it.
When you provide your Virginia child custody lawyer with any narratives or pertinent documentation that they will deliver to the judge, it is a good idea to also supply the guardian ad litem with a copy as well.
Don’t forget that the guardian ad litem is a neutral entity. They understand the situation for your child as an outsider. Don’t be tempted to launch into any rants or mud-slinging about your ex that you wouldn’t say on the stand.
Although you may feel that it is painfully obvious that your side is correct, the guardian ad litem must consider both you and your ex’s arguments even-handedly.
Anytime you interact with the guardian ad litem is an opportunity for them to review your behavior and countenance. Even a visit to their office, in the waiting room alone with your children and the secretary, is an opportunity. Remember, more and more often, it is common for video cameras to be installed in places of business.
Also, never argue with the guardian ad litem. Pay no mind to how they conduct themselves. You should always be on your best behavior. If you have a major problem with something that they said or did, tell your Virginia divorce lawyer and they will handle it.
Read more about Determining Child Visitation in Virginia in our article library.
At Hofheimer Family Law Firm, we understand that the health and happiness of your child is your #1 concern and we will work with you to address any fears and anxieties that you may have about your child’s future. Our women’s divorce attorneys will work with 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. Contact us today to schedule a legal consultation – (757) 425-5200.