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What Should I Do if a Guardian ad Litem Has Been Assigned to My Child?

 Posted on October 12, 2022 in Divorce

Oakland County child custody lawyerLegal cases involving questions about child custody and welfare have the potential to become very heated. Parents are often concerned that they will lose their right to see their child, and the child in question is often caught between a rock and a hard place as each parent vies for their attention and loyalty. In tense situations like these, it can be difficult for children to understand what is best or to give an honest opinion about their preferences. It can also be difficult for a judge to make decisions because the information coming from both parents is clearly so biased.

To protect children in situations like this, a guardian ad litem may be appointed to investigate and represent a child’s best interests. Finding out that a guardian ad litem (GAL) has been appointed to your case can be intimidating, but there is usually no need to be concerned. If you are doing your best to parent your child and telling the truth to the court, a GAL can confirm that your child’s best interests are being served by your actions. 

Remain Calm and Cooperate

A GAL has several responsibilities. Their first duty is to the child, and their relationship to the child is a combination of both an attorney and an investigator. A GAL will need to meet with a child several times and will monitor the child’s well-being during and even after a case has been finalized. 

However, the role of a GAL differs from that of an attorney in one important way: Their job is to determine a child’s best interests, even if the GAL’s determination is not the same thing as what the child wants. The GAL makes a recommendation to the court based on their investigation and, although the recommendation is not legally binding, it is usually heavily weighted when the judge makes his or her decisions about the case. 

As a parent, your job in any situation involving a GAL is to remain calm and cooperative and to not give the GAL or judge any reason to doubt your parenting capabilities or your commitment to your child’s best interests. Trying to prevent a child from meeting with a GAL will probably be perceived as working against the child’s best interests, as will your refusal to work with the GAL yourself. 

It is important for you not to coach your child or give them specific things to say to the GAL. Professionals in the child custody world are familiar with efforts to influence a child and will readily perceive that a child is saying things that have been fed to them by an adult. Your best bet is to be honest, professional, and committed to being the best parent you can be - before, during, and after the case. Let the GAL take the lead and be cooperative and helpful. 

Meet with a Novi, MI Child Custody Lawyer

A Farmington Hills, MI child custody attorney with Elkouri Heath, PLC can represent you throughout your case, whether it is divorce, child welfare, or a custody dispute. To get help from our team, call us today at 248-344-9700 and schedule a free consultation. 




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