If you’re involved in a child custody case or a contested divorce, you may wonder if you need a guardian ad litem. Or, if your case was appointed one, you need to know what kind of support they are able to provide your family. Here’s what you should know about guardian ad litems in Florida divorce and child custody cases.
What Is a Guardian Ad Litem?
A guardian ad litem, often shortened to GAL, is a special attorney that is appointed to independently represent children involved in a divorce and/or child custody case. The purpose of a guardian ad litem is to ensure that the best interests of the children are protected, outside of the legal representation of either parent.
What Does a Guardian Ad Litem Do?
Guardian ad litems typically perform a variety of legal services related to their case. They may perform investigations in cases where child abuse or neglect is suspected, or they may discuss custody and visitation arrangements with the parents before making a recommendation to the court what type of arrangement they believe to be best for the child.
How to Know If You Need a Guardian Ad Litem
If a guardian ad litem has not yet been appointed to your case, here are some signs you may need one:
- You believe your ex may be harming your child. If you suspect your ex may be physically abusing or neglecting your child, it is in the best interest of both you and your child to have a GAL appointed to your case. A judge is more likely to concur with the independent assessment of a guardian ad litem than the claim of the other parent.
- You want your children to have their own lawyer. If your case is very high conflict and because children in a divorce case cannot typically vocalize their thoughts to the Court and you would like your children to have legal representation by a neutral party other than you or your ex’s lawyer, a guardian ad litem can help.
Involved in a Child Custody Dispute? Get Experienced Legal Help Today
If you’re involved in a divorce or child custody dispute and aren’t able to reach an agreement with your ex on important legal matters regarding your child, don’t wait to get legal help. Contact Naples family and divorce lawyer Kevyn Noonan Hayes, P.A. today for a consultation at 239-591-6248.