What is a Guardian ad Litem?
A guardian ad litem is an objective, impartial person who is appointed by the court to act as a representative for a minor child. A guardian ad litem is usually appointed in contested custody and visitation cases, name changes, adoptions, abuse and neglect cases and sometimes termination of parental right cases. They’re used as a way to get a child’s testimony in court without having to put a child through the stress of physically testifying before both of their parents and the attorneys.
In the course of their investigations, a guardian ad litem might do things such as:
- Investigate each parent’s home environment
- Study the child’s room
- Take note of whether any siblings or extended family might live in the child’s home
- Review how the home is set up and if the child is in a comfortable and safe environment
They might also interview the child extensively to get information from the child as to what the child’s wants, needs and desires might be and/or any concerns that the child might have. They will also conduct interviews with people such as babysitters, doctors, teachers, coaches and anyone else who plays a major role in the child’s life. The guardian ad litem might also observe the child with each parent separately to get an idea of what kind of relationship and parenting abilities that child has with that particular parent.
At the conclusion of all their investigations, the guardian ad litem will then write a report that will be submitted to the court with their determination and with their recommendations. The courts usually look to these reports with a lot of interest and they usually follow the recommendations of the guardian ad litem.
If a guardian ad litem is appointed by a judge, there is no way for a parent to deny or cancel that appointment. You must abide by the court’s decision. Just remember that this is done for your child’s best interest and it is important for your child’s well-being that you cooperate.
If you are have questions regarding this or any other family law topic, do not hesitate to contact our office to schedule a consultation. Our office can be reached at (702) 998-1188, firstname.lastname@example.org, or by scheduling a consultation online.