The role of the guardian ad litem

Guardian ad litemIn many child custody cases, a guardian ad litem is appointed to represent the interests of the children.  To many individuals, the concept of a guardian ad litem can be a bit fuzzy.  Who are they?  What is their role?  This is a question many ask.

A guardian ad litem is an attorney appointed by the court to represent a child or children in a custody dispute.  It is their job to investigate the best interests of the children.  In addition to talking to the parents, they might talk to other third parties, like school teaches, doctors, friends, relatives and other contacts.

A guardian ad litem also might request records.  These records can be medical records.  They might be school records.  Ultimately, they are going to want to obtain information regarding the children.

The laws in states and procedures can vary.  In the end, the guardian ad litem is generally charged with making a recommendation as to the best interests of the children.  This can come by way of a report submitted to the court.  Or, it can can through testimony at a trial.

A judge doesn’t necessary have to do what the guardian ad litem recommends.  In some cases, the judge may deviate.  But, in assessing the odds, most judges render recommendations in conformity or close to that of the guardian ad litem.  This can be particularly through where the guardian ad litem is one that the judge has used in the past on cases and knows and trusts.

The fees of a guardian ad litem are typically paid by the parties.  Just as most attorneys bill hourly, this is how most guardian ad litem do their work.  At the end of the case, the judge can apportion outstanding fees amongst the parties based on various criteria such as the income of the parties, the work conduct or the merits of the case.

If you are going though a child custody matter, and a guardian ad litem is part of the process, Stange Law Firm, PC can help.  You can contact us at 1-855-805-0595.

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