Tips for Dealing with a Guardian ad Litem: Part Three

Don’t exaggerate, and don’t be a “gusher.”

The GAL will probably ask about problems you may be encountering with the father of your child. You should make sure to narrow the focus of this conversation to one or two issues, rather than having a dumping session where you explain everything that’s wrong with him. Focus on the most critical issues, and be organized when discussing your concerns. You should outline specific instances of the conduct to which you refer, with a brief summary and a list of witnesses. When you refer to a witness, include their phone numbers, email address, physical address, and indicate the best time to call. Give a copy of your summary and your witness list to the GAL, but make sure there is no profanity or opinions about dad. Keep it brief though; your outline shouldn’t be more than a page, or it will look like a rant.

If the GAL asks you a question, and you speak for more than 5 or 6 minutes on that particular issue, you are “gushing.” Gushing is when you pretty much throw everything on the GAL and try to express all your thoughts and emotions about dad’s parenting deficiencies in one prolonged monologue. The problem with gushing is that the GAL, like other people, will quit listening. Your rant could also undermine your argument for custody, particularly if you seem bitter or angry. Concentrate on making sure your comments are precise, brief, and productive.

When dealing with a GAL, it is important to be vigilant about what you’re saying and the impression you may be making. Concentrate on doing what’s best for your children without speaking ill of their father. Your ex will show his true colors himself. There’s no need to make yourself look ugly or petty by telling the GAL all the horrible things about your child’s father before he has a chance to observe the behaviors himself.

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