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Naperville divorce attorneyIt is not impossible to have an amicable divorce - some people are able to get a divorce without any major disputes. However, there are many couples whose relationship is so contentious that they are unable to be civil while they are going through a divorce, especially when it comes to child-related issues. Parents can turn into completely different people when there is an issue involving their child. Sometimes during a divorce, parents can lose sight of what is best for their child because of all of the arguing and anger. In cases such as those, the court will often appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL) to help make sure the child’s needs are being met and decisions are being made in their best interests.

What Is a GAL?

A GAL is an attorney who has been appointed to a case involving disputes regarding children. The attorney has special training in family law and child issues and has two main roles: to determine the best interests of the child and to conduct an investigation and report the findings to the court. In simple terms, the GAL is responsible for reporting recommendations for custody arrangements or other areas of family law.

What Does a GAL Do?

As soon as the court appoints a GAL, they will begin to observe the parents and try to understand the issues that exist in the case. In many cases, parenting time arrangements are one of the main points of contention. The GAL will then begin to conduct their investigation by looking into the parents’ lives and backgrounds. To do this, the GAL will conduct interviews with various individuals, including the parents, the child, and other relevant family members. If the GAL deems it necessary, they may also interview other people such as the child’s teachers, doctors, or the family’s neighbors.

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DuPage County parental relocation lawyerFor some, relocation can be a necessary step after divorce. There are many reasons why divorcees would want to move after the divorce is finalized. Some wish to be closer to family members, while others move for a new job. Regardless of the reason, a parent must have primary or equal custody of the child in order to submit a relocation request. In Illinois, relocation includes any move that is at least 25 miles from the child’s current home for those that live in Will, Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake or McHenry County or moves outside of Illinois state borders. If the child lives in a different county than those listed above, relocation boundaries increase to 50 miles from the current residence to any other part of Illinois. Moving with your child can be stressful, especially if your ex-spouse does not approve of the relocation.

Notice of Relocation

Before you are able to do anything, you must provide your former spouse with notice that you intend to relocate with your child. In the notice, you must include the date of your intended relocation, your new address, and whether or not the relocation is permanent. If the other parent signs the notice, it can be filed with the clerk of the circuit court, and if the judge agrees that the proposed move is in the child's best interests, the parenting plan will be modified. If the other parent does not agree to the relocation, the parent seeking to move must file a petition with the court requesting to relocate.

Deciding Factors

If the parents are unable to come to an agreement on their own, they must take the issue to court. A judge will review the petition for relocation and the other parent's objections to the planned relocation to determine whether the move is in the child's best interests. When the judge is making the decision about the relocation, he or she will consider a variety of factors. These include:

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