Sometimes in a Chicago child custody or parenting time dispute, an important viewpoint is overlooked: the child’s. In order to ensure that a child’s interests are considered when decisions are being made that affect the child, a court may appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the child’s best interests.
A guardian ad litem’s opinion can be especially persuasive to the court and can frustrate your efforts to obtain custody of your child or modify existing parenting time orders. The Arami Law Office provides skilled representation to clients in custody and parenting time disputes where a guardian ad litem is involved. Contact us for assistance right away.
The term “guardian ad litem” literally means “guardian for the lawsuit.” A guardian ad litem (sometimes abbreviated as GAL) is appointed by the court to advise the court as to the best interests of the child in custody and parenting time proceedings. A GAL is not the same as an attorney for the child: if the child’s wishes and desires are different than what the GAL determines the best interests of the child to be, the GAL is obligated to advocate for the child’s best interests.
In determining the child’s best interests, a GAL is able to consult with and review the child’s treatment records, school records and may consult with the child’s parents, grandparents, friends, classmates, or other individuals who may have had opportunity to interact with the child or observe the child in the care of one or the other parent.
Not every divorce or custody case will involve a guardian ad litem appointed to represent the child’s best interests. A court determines when it is appropriate for a guardian ad litem to be appointed. A court will generally do so when it feels as if the parents are not able to focus on the child’s well-being when making arguments regarding child custody and parenting time, or when the evidence presented by the parents is conflicting and the court has need of a third point of view.
A court will tend to give great weight to the guardian ad litem’s conclusions regarding the child’s best interests. The GAL’s opinion can mean the difference between the success or failure of your motion to modify child custody or your request for parenting time. The opinion and viewpoint of a guardian ad litem can be especially helpful, if the guardian ad litem agrees with your positions and arguments. If he or she does not, however, you will need experienced legal counsel to attack the guardian ad litem’s conclusions and/or the evidence he or she relied on in forming his or her opinions.
The Arami Law Office’s knowledgeable team of divorce and child custody lawyers can help ensure your opinions concerning your child’s well-being and welfare are heard and well supported. Contact us for assistance by calling (312) 212-1399.
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