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Understanding the Role of the Guardian Ad Litem in Illinois Child Custody Cases

Posted on in Family Law

Naperville guardian ad litem lawyerUnfortunately, divorces do not often involve much amicability, especially on issues related to children. Divorcing parents may not see eye to eye on what is best for a child of the marriage. This can result in major disagreements that do not have a clear solution.

During a divorce, a child’s best interests can be put on the back burner or forgotten altogether. In order to avoid this, a judge may appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL) to the case to help understand the situation and determine what solutions would be in the child’s best interest.

What is a GAL?

A GAL is an attorney who has been trained and certified to handle child-related issues. A GAL can be appointed in any case that involves child support, child custody, allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting time, parental relocations or the general welfare of a child. Though the GAL is a licensed attorney, he or she does not act as an attorney for either side. Rather, the GAL’s role is to examine the circumstances of the case and act as an advocate for the child’s best interests.

The GAL’s Process in Custody Cases

  • In order to come to a determination on what actions would be in the child’s best interest, the GAL will have to conduct an investigation into the family’s circumstances. Depending on the issues that need to be settled, the GAL may:
  • Meet and interview each parent;
  • Meet with the child privately;
  • Talk with other individuals, such as psychologists, teachers, relatives and/or doctors; and
  • Visit each parent’s residence.

Once the GAL has completed their investigation, he or she will then compile a report and come up with a plan in the child’s best interests. The report is made available to all parties, and the GAL may be asked to testify. The judge does not have to follow the GAL’s recommendations, though they are usually given weight by the fact finder.

Hire a Naperville Guardian Ad Litem 

Not only can judges order a GAL to be appointed to a case, but either party can also request that a GAL be assigned. At the Goostree Law Group, we can review your case and discuss how a GAL could be used. Contact our DuPage County experienced guardians ad litems today for more information at 630-364-4046. We offer free consultations. 




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