Working With a Guardian Ad Litem in Illinois

 Posted on February 27, 2024 in Child Custody

IL divorce lawyerParents who are going through a child custody case or divorce involving children often get anxious when they find out a guardian ad litem has been assigned to their case. However, guardians ad litem are a very normal part of a contested custody battle. Since the court will need to make decisions about what is best for the child, it will need an impartial person to investigate things like the child’s needs and relationship with each parent. The court needs more than in-court testimony given by each parent, both of whom are interested parties. Children, especially young children, often cannot provide useful and honest testimony in court while under stress. It is important to follow your DuPage County, IL, child custody attorney’s advice when it comes to working with a guardian ad litem.

Tips for Successfully Working With a Guardian Ad Litem 

While having a guardian ad litem come to interview your child can be nerve-wracking, taking steps like coaching the child on what to say will only make things worse. Some tips for working with a guardian ad litem include:

  • Allow them access readily - Trying to prevent the guardian ad litem from gaining access to your home, your child, and other adults who know your child can create needless suspicion. When the guardian ad litem wants to meet with your child or visit your household, it is best to simply allow them to do so. If you have a legitimate time conflict, such as if they want to meet with your child on a morning when your child has a pediatrician appointment, your GAL can work around it. 
  • Do not coach your child - GALs can tell when a parent has taught a child what to say. Refrain from telling your child to bring up certain facts, use certain phrases, or avoid mentioning certain issues. 
  • Do prepare your child for difficult questions - Without suggesting particular answers, you can tell your child what kinds of questions the GAL might ask them so your child can be prepared to answer hard questions. This is particularly important if your child has had difficult experiences, such as witnessing domestic violence in the home. 
  • Get your child counseling - Your child may be just as nervous as you are about having a GAL. Taking your child to see a counselor - and letting them talk to the counselor alone - can help your child work through their feelings. It also shows that you are caring for your child’s emotional well-being. 

Although having a GAL assigned to your case can be somewhat stressful, remember that their role is not to judge you. It is only to see what your child needs and help the court create a parenting plan that is best for them.

Contact a Wheaton, IL Contested Child Custody Lawyer

Andrew Cores Family Law Group is dedicated to helping parents successfully work with the guardians ad litem assigned to their cases. Our experienced DuPage County, IL, contested child custody attorneys will do all we can to prepare you before a GAL becomes involved. Contact us at 630-871-1002 for a complimentary consultation.

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