Tips for dealing with Guardians ad Litem: Part One

When custody of your children is in dispute, or sometimes, when the parents cannot agree on visitation, courts will appoint a Guardian ad litem to represent the “best interest” of the child. Because of the GAL’s unique position, he or she is not there to be your friend, even though he is probably acutely aware of some of the most intimate and embarrassing personal details in your life. Even though the GAL will ultimately make a recommendation to the judge relating to the appropriate custody arrangement for your children, you can not fall into the trap of thinking that the GAL has the same relationship with you as your attorney. It is the GAL’s job to determine what is in the best interest of the child based on what he observes.

Here are a few tips for dealing with a GAL:

  1. Don’t assume that the GAL will automatically share your view.

You may think that the way your child’s father has behaved is so ridiculous and so over-the-top that no reasonable person could disagree with you. You should keep in mind that the GAL will not automatically share your opinion. The GAL is primarily concerned with what is in the best interest of the child, which means that he may or may not agree with your choices and opinions. Don’t be tricked into thinking that the GAL is your friend.

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