While divorce is not easy for a separating couple, children can become the unfortunate catch-all for the more serious negative consequences of divorce. Lacking understanding and context, children often suffer the impact of parents who disagree about child support, custody arrangements, or who simply use the children as a proxy to fight out their personal differences.
When parents are diametrically opposed in their wishes regarding what should happen with the children, or when accusations of abuse and neglect have been made, a court may appoint an independent third party to investigate the situation more closely to determine what would be in a child’s best interests. This person is called a guardian ad litem. Finding out a guardian ad litem will be involved in your case can be uncomfortable; you may like you have done something wrong or that you are under close supervision. However, guardians ad litem are common in contested parenting cases and understanding their role is an important part of making the investigation go smoothly.
What Does a Guardian ad Litem Do?
Tasked with discovering a child’s best interests, guardians ad litem do a deep dive into a child’s living situation with both parents. Because contested parenting time and parental responsibility cases often involve the potential relocation of a child from living in one area to another, the guardian ad litem must investigate how adjusted a child is to her environment and the potential impact of moving to another environment.
Guardians ad litem can request extensive information and documentation, including:
Psychological evaluations of parents, children, and siblings
A child’s academic performance
A child’s mental and physical wellness
The criminal history of both parents
Interviews with neighbors, teachers, and other knowledgeable adults
Information about allegations of abuse or neglect
It can be uncomfortable to give someone this much access to your private life, but it is important to cooperate. Keep your child’s best interests in mind, be honest, and allow the guardian ad litem to do his or her job. An attorney can guide you throughout every step of the process and give you legal advice to help you put your best foot forward.
Get in Touch with a DuPage County Parenting Agreement Attorney
At The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C., our Wheaton, IL child custody lawyers know that having a guardian ad litem assigned to your case can be intimidating and confusing. With the help of our experienced team, you can face the unknown with the skill and knowledge of our many years of practice. Get the help and guidance you need by calling us today to schedule a confidential consultation. Contact our offices at 630-462-9500.