While it is true that no two divorces are the same, there are still some issues that commonly come up. Whether the two spouses are splitting up amicably or are unable to even make eye contact, they will still generally need to figure out asset division, spousal support, and property division. And regardless of how easily a couple can reach agreements about all those things in a divorce, child custody issues are commonly difficult to work out.
A couple can be ending their marriage on great terms and still find it nearly impossible to formulate a plan for how they will raise their children in this new dynamic. Also, parents can sometimes be so wrapped up in worry about the divorce settlement they might not always feel able to keep their children’s best interests at the center of their minds.
In such cases when parents cannot agree on how their parental responsibilities should be divided in divorce, a guardian ad litem, or GAL, can be appointed by the court. This is a legal representative specifically tasked with advocating for the child’s interests. If you believe an acrimonious divorce may be in your future, it might be good for you to understand what exactly a GAL does. An experienced DuPage County, IL child custody attorney can answer your questions and help prepare you for the next steps in your divorce.
What Does a Guardian Ad Litem Do?
According to Ilinois divorce law, parents who are ending their marriage need to formulate a parenting plan, including how they will divide parental responsibilities and parental rights. If the parents are unable to reach any agreement about this, the judge can have a guardian ad litem (GAL) appointed to assist.
A GAL is a licensed lawyer with experience in protecting children’s best interests during divorce proceedings that involve child custody disputes or domestic abuse issues. Their ultimate goal is for the child involved to end up in an environment that is healthy and safe.
The GAL will need to carefully study the case and submit a recommendation to the judge. While the judge is not legally required to accept the GAL’s recommendations, they generally do pay close attention to them.
Generally speaking, in trying to determine what is in the child’s best interests, the GAL will have some work to do before submitting any recommendations. This work includes conducting home visits; requesting to review the child’s medical and school records; interviewing the child; interviewing the parents; interviewing people who know the parents and/or child – teachers, neighbors, doctors; and more.
Contact a Wheaton, IL Child Custody Lawyer
If you and your spouse will likely be unable to reach amicable agreements about your parenting plan, it might be a good idea for you to understand the role that a GAL can play. Some of our attorneys are even certified to serve as guardians ad litem in cases that involve child custody issues. A compassionate DuPage County, IL child custody attorney who has experience working with guardians ad litem can guide you through the process. Please call [[title]] at [[phone]] to schedule a free consultation.