Elmhurst Child Representation Attorneys
Assisting Those in Need of Guardians ad Litem or Parenting Coordinators in Park Ridge, Elmhurst, and Chicago
An attorney for a child generally has significant levels of family law experience. As an example, Cook County requires a minimum of five years’ experience in order for an attorney to be considered an attorney for a child (including child representative and guardian ad litem appointments). A court appointed child representative functions in the same manner as an attorney for one of the child’s parents’ and is an advocate for the child. An Illinois attorney for a child must carefully weigh the child’s maturity, age, intelligence, comprehension, and communication skills to determine what level of assistance the child requires. There are only a very few instances in which the attorney for a child may be compelled to testify, and even then communications between the attorney and child are still considered privileged. In the event of a trial, the child representative may call witnesses, including cross examination of the parents and any collateral or expert witnesses. At Weiss-Kunz & Oliver, LLC, we are skilled advocates for Illinois children in high-conflict cases.
Illinois Guardian ad Litem
An Illinois Guardian ad Litem is an attorney appointed to protect children of divorcing parents in contentious situations. He or she is required to investigate the facts of the case, interview the children and both parents, and make a determination as to the best interests of the child. The Guardian ad Litem may also interview other collateral sources, such as teachers, therapists, relatives of the children at issue, and the like. The Guardian ad Litem may be called as a witness for the purpose of cross-examination regarding his or her report or recommendations. The court has discretion to order fees paid to a Guardian ad Litem or child representative, including a retainer fee. These fees may be paid by one or both parents, by the marital estate, or, when applicable, by a child’s separate estate. In many cases, an Illinois Guardian ad Litem may be converted into a Parenting Coordinator, as more fully set forth below. Attorney Maxine Weiss Kunz is on the certified list of child representatives and Guardian ad Litems in Cook County and has the necessary knowledge of Illinois laws as well as the experience gained from working for a top Chicago family law firm to skillfully represent the best interests of a child in an Illinois legal proceeding.
A parenting coordinator (PC) is a neutral third party who assists couples who are separated or divorced—and are usually high-conflict—in settling disagreements related to the child outside of the court. The ultimate goal in involving a parenting coordinator is to reduce parental conflict and avoid multiple court appearances. The parenting coordinator can serve as a case manager as well as a facilitator of communication, and while the parents of the child or children are actually the clients of the parenting coordinator, the PC has the responsibility to ensure the decisions made truly serve the best interests of the child. The parenting coordinator helps parents establish problem-solving protocol as well as to implement their Parenting Plan. Cook County Courts may appoint parenting coordinators under Cook County Rule 13.10 in order to implement the interaction of parents and children during family court litigation. Maxine Weiss Kunz has served as such a coordinator and worked with other PCs when she represents a client in a high conflict child situation.
Guardian ad Litem vs. Parenting Coordinator
The Guardian ad Litem is court-appointed and in charge of investigating the facts or evaluating a family, then making recommendations to the court regarding custody and visitation issues. The Guardian ad Litem is more likely to be assessing the family dynamics in order to create a written report to the court with the findings. A parenting coordinator works with the parents in order to implement an existing parenting plan, or to assist the parents in making changes to the plan. PCs usually do not involve themselves in actual litigation, and many will only accept an appointment under the condition that they cannot be used as a witness in any underlying case. This neutrality helps the party’s parent effectively in the most high conflict custody or visitation cases.
Our skilled attorneys have the necessary experience in child representation to ensure proper protection of a child’s best interests. Specifically, Maxine Weiss Kunz has a 10.0 rating on Avvo and is a Super Lawyers Rising Star. For experienced family law representation in Chicago, DuPage County, Lake County, and throughout the rest of the suburban area, contact Weiss-Kunz & Oliver, LLC at 847-329-7171.