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Understanding the Role a Guardian Ad Litem Plays in Your Illinois Divorce

Posted on in Child Custody

IL divorce lawyerEven though a divorce technically just involves you and your spouse, the two of you are not the only ones who will be affected by the divorce. Getting a divorce affects the whole family, especially if you have children. Having children also means there is likely a greater chance that there will be disagreement during your divorce proceedings. When it comes to child-related issues, it is not uncommon for parents to be unable to see eye-to-eye. In cases in which there is extensive disagreement, a judge may appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL) to your case to help your children’s voices be heard.

What Is a GAL?

In Illinois, the default procedure is to encourage parents to come to an agreement on child-related issues. The court will try to get the parents to use various methods of negotiation, including mediation, to settle disagreements. If the judge determines that the parents are unable to work together or put their children’s needs ahead of their own, they may appoint a GAL to help keep the children’s best interests in mind. A GAL is a highly-trained professional, often an attorney, who is appointed to basically be the attorney for the children and protect their best interests.

How Will a GAL Impact My Case?

To accomplish their job, a GAL will employ a variety of methods for gathering information so they can make their recommendations. Many times, a GAL will conduct interviews with each of the children, the parents, and other people that are present in the family’s lives, such as teachers or psychologists. The GAL will also likely conduct a home visit during which they will observe the interactions between the family members.

Once the GAL has gathered all of their information, they will compile all of that information into a report, which they will then submit to the court and both parents. The report will contain the results of their observations and the GAL’s final recommendation as to what is in the children’s best interests. The GAL may also be called as a witness during a hearing for purposes of cross-examination, whereas other child representation may not.

Speak with a DuPage County Family Law Lawyer Today

As a parent, it is only natural for you to want what is best for your children. If you have had a GAL appointed to your case, the judge has determined that a third party is needed to help figure out what is best. At Weiss-Kunz & Oliver, LLC, we have experience both working with and working as a guardian ad litem. We can help you understand what you should expect from a GAL and how to work with one. To schedule a consultation, call our Elmhurst, IL family law attorneys at 312-605-4041.

 

Sources:

https://www.ourfamilywizard.com/blog/what-guardian-ad-litem

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=075000050K506

http://www.cookcountycourt.org/ABOUTTHECOURT/CountyDepartment/DomesticRelationsDivision/FrequentCourtReferrals/ChildRepGuardianAdLitem(GAL).aspx#2971441-what-is-a-guardian-ad-litem

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