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Fast Facts About Guardians Ad Litem in Illinois

 Posted on April 11, 2022 in Family Law

Kane County Parenting Time LawyerLegal matters involving children are of special importance in the eyes of the court. Children are often in a very vulnerable position during a divorce, child custody dispute, adoption, or other legal matter. The court cannot call a small child to the stand and examine him or her the way the court may examine an adult. Furthermore, children may be manipulated by the adults in the case or afraid to tell the truth. Guardians Ad Litem are specially qualified professionals, often attorneys, who advocate on behalf of children during legal proceedings.

The Guardian Ad Litem Advocates for the Child’s Best Interests

Some people think that a Guardian Ad Litem works for one of the parties in a divorce or other legal matter. Others assume that the Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) is the child’s own attorney. In reality, a GAL does not represent any one person. The GAL’s job is to evaluate the facts of the case and determine what he or she thinks is in the child’s best interests.

The Guardian Ad Litem May Conduct Interviews and Investigations

Before the GAL can form an opinion about the case, he or she must fully understand the facts of the case. The GAL often acts as the eyes and ears of the court. It is not practical for the judge presiding over a case to visit the parents’ homes and see first-hand what is going on. Instead, the court assigns a trusted GAL to investigate the parties’ homes, conduct interviews, and gather information.

A Guardian Ad Litem may:

  • Inspect each party’s living environments and check for any safety concerns

  • Interview the child, the child’s siblings, and other children living in the home(s)

  • Interview the parents or other adults involved in the case

  • Speak with teachers, psychologists, doctors, and other professionals involved in the child’s life

  • Evaluate police reports, medical records, and other documentation

A GAL’s Opinion Can Heavily Influence a Case

Once the GAL has completed his or her investigation, he or she makes a recommendation to the court about the outcome of the case. The GAL does not decide the outcome of the case, however, his or her opinion is highly regarded. The results of the GAL’s investigation may heavily influence a divorce, relocation case, child custody dispute, adoption, or other family law case. If a Guardian Ad Litem has been assigned to your case, it is a good idea to retain an experienced family law attorney.

Contact a Geneva Family Lawyer for Help

At Serrano Hanson, our Kane County family law attorneys provide skilled guidance and fierce representation for clients involved in family law disputes. Our lawyers are experienced in cases involving Guardians Ad Litem and have also served in this role themselves. Call our office at 630-844-8781 for a confidential consultation.




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