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Child custody: What is a guardian ad litem?

It is not surprising that children are often those most affected by divorce. When Connecticut parents divorce, some may have difficulty ironing out important issues like child custody. In such cases -- when parents are unable to come to an agreement on issues involving children -- the court may appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL) to make sure a child's best interests are being taken into consideration while their parents confront the issue, either through continued negotiations or in court.

A GAL safeguards a child's best interests while an attorney for a minor child (AMC) makes sure a child's legal interests are taken into consideration while ensuring his or her best interests as well. A GAL must have completed a training program prior to being considered for the position. He or she acts independently of the parents to protect the child's best interests. Some things a GAL might be called upon to do by the courts include reviewing files and records, talking to teachers and medical professionals, encouraging settlement disputes and making recommendations to the court.

Parents can ask a GAL to be fair and impartial. The court expects a GAL to be professional and courteous, act in good faith and to avoid conflicts of interest. It is also incumbent upon the GAL to keep accurate and complete records. Both parties in a case are typically ordered by the court to pay the GAL based on their respective financial affidavits.

A Connecticut family law attorney can advise a client on the issues surrounding children like child custody and how they pertain to his or her particular case. A lawyer may also be able to explain further the duties of a GAL and how they could affect the divorce process. It is better when a client is knowledgeable about those things that could affect his or her life and the lives of his or her children.

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  • Hi Yuliana and Attorney Prince, Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy day to meet with me. I really appreciated how compassionate you were while listening to my situation, even through my tears. Thank you so much for sharing such valuable information with me. I left feeling very hopeful that when the dust settles, I’ll be ok.
  • Wendy helped guide us through a very difficult and emotional process and was really able to provide an even and fair account for both parties. It's quite evident in her expertise in this area but the way she was able to make you feel safe and secure in a very insecure time goes far beyond her legal prowess. If the two parties are really willing to cooperate and collaborate, she's there to help gain the best possible solution for all involved, especially if there are children.
  • Regardless of how committed one is to the fact that divorce may be imminent and necessary, it is truly one of the most emotional and stressful situations one can experience. It can also be daunting. Wendy has a remarkable ability to cut through the noise and help you focus on the big picture while drilling down on what is most pertinent to your particular situation., they are a formidable team who work collectively with your best interests in mind.
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