What Does a Guardian Ad Litem Do in an Illinois Divorce?

 Posted on May 30, 2024 in Child Custody

Kane County, IL child custody lawyerIt is common for parents who are going through a divorce in Illinois to disagree on issues in the divorce process. When these issues involve a child, a judge might appoint a guardian ad litem. Guardian ad litem is Latin for “guardian for the lawsuit,” and it is the guardian ad litem’s job to represent the child’s interests during the divorce process.

A guardian ad litem is an attorney who has received guardian child advocacy training and certification. This means that he or she is uniquely qualified to represent a child in court. A guardian ad litem can be extremely helpful in situations where parents disagree and it is hard for a judge to know what would be best for the child.

What Does a Guardian Ad Litem Do?

Once appointed, a guardian ad litem will do some or all of the following things:

  • Investigate the facts of the case

  • Interview relevant parties, including the child, both parents, relatives, teachers, neighbors, and anyone living with the child

  • Review official records, including reports of any abuse or neglect

  • Review the child’s academic records and psychological evaluations

  • Be present for all proceedings, especially any official meetings with the child

  • Issue subpoenas as necessary

  • Submit a recommendation to the court at least 30 days before the final hearing

Courts do not have to abide by recommendations from guardians ad litem, but they usually do.

When Do Courts Appoint Guardians Ad Litem?

A court might appoint a guardian ad litem any time the judge is concerned that the interests of the child are unclear or likely to be ignored. This sometimes happens in:

  • Child custody disputes where the parents are uncompromising

  • Child custody disputes where it is unclear if one or both parents are safe for the child’s well-being

  • Child support disputes where the child’s needs are unclear

  • Any dispute where the parents use the child as a proxy in the disagreement

In cases like these, a court’s top priority is the child’s well-being. If there is any threat to the child’s physical, emotional, or mental health, the judge has a duty to subdue that threat, even if it is in the form of a parent. A guardian ad litem’s job is to carefully investigate the case to find out what is best for the child. 

Contact a Kane County, IL Divorce Attorney

When a guardian ad litem is appointed, parents often feel resentful or that they have done something wrong. It is also common for a parent to feel that the child is no longer under his or her authority. It is best to speak to a St. Charles, Illinois divorce lawyer who can help you understand what a guardian ad litem is and what to do if one has been appointed to your case.

At Goostree Law Group, our excellent attorneys are highly experienced in child custody cases. We have coached many parents on how to work with a guardian ad litem. Call 630-584-4800 to discuss your case with a free consultation today.

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