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Child custody: What is a guardian ad litem?

On Behalf of | Dec 17, 2019 | Child Custody, Connecticut Family Law Blog |

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.