ROLE OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM IN CHILD CUSTODY

In any case where a child is involved, what the court always look out for is the interest of the child. And to protect the child and provide the best support and option for the child, the court appoints a "Guardian Ad Litem"

CHAMAN LAW FIRM

6/9/2022 3 min read

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THE ROLE OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM IN CHILD CUSTODY

Divorce cases have unfortunately been at a higher percentage in the world. These cases especially when there are children involved puts the child in a position which may not be favourable or be in their best interest. To protect the child and provide the best support and option for the child, the court appoints a "Guardian Ad Litem" who makes findings and provides reports based on the child which would help in making legal decisions. The Guardian Ad litem (hereinafter GAL) has proper education/training on how to respond to the needs of children.

The GAL submits these findings to the court to aid the custody case. A child as regarded by the law is someone under the age of 18. The GAL role may also extend to children with certain disabilities or juvenile cases.

ROLES OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM IN CUSTODY CASE

In custody cases, the parents usually argue about who should take custody of the children in divorce cases, that is, the person who would take care of the child, their upbringing and where they would live. These roles include:

  • INVESTIGATING THE CASES

The court appoints the GAL who would find out background reports on the parents, the child and surrounding issues concerning the case. This investigation provides options which would be in the best interest of the child/children. They provide an in-depth analysis of the child, research on documents/information and five recommendations based on this analysis. The investigation is very vital in the decision of the court as regards the child. In some situations, the court would assign to the GAL the specific areas they want to be investigated and what they want them to find out. ·

  • ATTEND COURT PROCEEDINGS

The GAL would have to be present at court sessions concerning the child to assess the situation and acquire information on what they are dealing with. They are in some instances allowed access to examinations of important documents like court records, medical reports of the parents and child children, results of examinations or cross-examination of the parents.

  • WORK WITH OTHER PROFESSIONALS

Since the case may have delicate matters like children or parents with substance, physical or mental abuse, the GAL has to work with professionals in those fields to handle this. Using appropriate skills and facilities to handle the cases, they work with them to make findings on their overall well-being and how it impacts their interests. This report is viewed by attorneys, court and parents related to the case.

  • CONSIDERING OTHER BETTER OPTIONS

Considering and weighing all options, research and findings to be in the best interest of the child. Their relationship with their parents and how well they cope with each one individually. Sourcing information from neighbours, relatives and acquaintances.

Some parents may not be in support of getting a guardian ad litem because of the toll it makes take on their child or the parent. Usually, the court would suggest because of the delicate composition of these cases, that they be resolved out-of-court ( using the Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanism).

In conclusion, a GAL is employed by the court in cases of custody to carry out investigations and findings that would provide the best interest of the child. The reports are submitted to the court and attorneys for final decisions. A guardian ad litem is not to be misrepresented as an attorney as there is a separate individual for that duty.

NB: This article is not a legal advice, and under no circumstance should you take it as such. All information provided are for general purpose only. For information, please contact chamanlawfirm@gmail.com

WRITTEN BY CHAMAN LAW FIRM TEAM

EMAIL: chamanlawfirm@gmail.com

TEL: 08065553671, 08024230080