In child custody and parenting time disputes, a guardian ad litem can often be appointed. The laws can certainly vary by state. However, in cases where there are allegations of abuse and neglect, a guardian ad litem is generally required.
When a guardian ad litem is appointed, the protocol can vary based on the jurisdiction and the court. It can also vary based on the case. It can also vary based on the preferences of the guardian ad litem and the parties.
A guardian ad litem is appointed to help make a recommendation to the court in terms of what is in the best interests of the children. A guardian ad litem can help procure a settlement while the case is pending. Or, if the case does not settle, the guardian ad litem will generally give a recommendation to the court at the conclusion of the trial.
A guardian ad litem will usually meet with both the parties to the case. They generally conduct and interview about the facts of the case, the desires of the parties and, ultimately, try to decipher what is in the best interests of the children after an investigation and the presentation of evidence.
Being a guardian ad litem is not an easy job. In some cases, the facts can be murky. This is particularly true where both parties are presenting different versions of the facts. And, in some cases, neither party may end up being happy with the recommendation of the guardian ad litem.
To help make matters easier, it is important that parties understand that the guardian ad litem’s job is to represent the children. Ultimately, they are not the attorney for the parents seeking custody. They are also not the judge, but an attorney for the children who makes a recommendation to the court. But to ensure that the best possible recommendation is made on behalf of the children, it is vital to get the guardian ad litem the information they need.
This means that parties should be thoroughly prepared for their meeting with a guardian ad litem (which usually takes place relatively soon after their appointment). It is also often advisable that a party gather the documents and evidence together that they think is important to get to their attorney in advance of this meeting.
Their attorney can then review the documents and evidence and forward on to the guardian ad litem what is important. A letter to the guardian ad litem from a party’s attorney explaining the documents and evidence and the goals of the client can also be important in advance of the meeting.
Talking with an attorney before meeting with a guardian ad litem is almost always wise as well. For most parties, this is an experience to which they are not accustomed. So, an experienced family law attorney can really help explain how this meeting may work to help relieve the stress and anxiety to ensure that the meeting goes smoothly.
If you are going through a custody matter where a guardian ad litem has been appointed, and you need legal assistance, you can contact Stange Law Firm, PC at 1-855-805-0595.