Although any divorce can be difficult, parents who choose to end their marriage may face a variety of challenges. Children with divorcing parents may experience a great deal of stress and anxiety as they struggle to understand why their parents are splitting up and how to cope with the changes. They may worry that the end of their parents’ marriage was somehow their fault or feel like they have to choose sides. In some divorce cases involving children, a special attorney called a guardian ad litem (GAL) is appointed to help address child-related issues. If you are planning to divorce, a guardian ad litem may be essential in making sure that the terms of your divorce are in your child’s best interests.

When Is a Guardian Ad Litem Appointed in a Divorce Case?

When a person involved in a legal proceeding such as a divorce cannot represent themselves, a guardian ad litem may be appointed to look out for his or her well-being. Most often, a GAL is appointed to help determine the best possible situation for a child whose parents are divorcing. Guardians ad litem are often appointed in divorce cases involving domestic abuse, child custody disputes regarding the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, and disagreements regarding child support.

In Illinois, a GAL may be requested by a parent undergoing a divorce or family law dispute, or a GAL can be appointed by a judge. Asking for a GAL may be beneficial when parents disagree about certain aspects of their child’s welfare, such as who the child should live with. Court litigation in front of a judge can be stressful and expensive. If parents can agree to accept the GAL’s advice, this may help them avoid unnecessary court hearings.

How Does a Guardian Ad Litem Help?

An attorney in a divorce case advocates on behalf of his or her client. Similarly, a GAL is an advocate for the child. The main responsibility of a GAL is to investigate the individuals involved in the dispute and help determine what post-divorce scenario is in the best interests of the child. A GAL typically does this by interviewing parents, the child or children, and other individuals who may have insight regarding the child’s best interests, such as family members, teachers, coaches, neighbors, or friends. After completing his or her investigation, the GAL will submit a report to the court explaining his or her recommendations. A GAL’s recommendations are not automatically followed by the court, but they do carry significant weight regarding the outcome of the case.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Lawyer

At The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C., we know just how complicated and emotionally trying a divorce involving children can be. We are committed to helping parents resolve their divorce issues in a way that best provides for their children. If you want to learn more about appointing a guardian ad litem to represent your child’s interests during your divorce, contact our law firm today. Schedule a confidential consultation with our experienced Wheaton family law attorneys by calling our office at 630-462-9500.


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