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What is a Guardian ad Litem? 

Posted on in Family Law

Kane County Family Law AttorneyA Guardian ad Litem is a specially appointed person whose primary goal is to protect the interests of a minor child who is involved in a court proceeding. Most of the time, a Guardian ad Litem is an attorney with special training who effectively represents minor children in family law proceedings. They are often called upon in contentious divorce cases but are also used in some adoptions or other family law matters. If a Guardian ad Litem has been appointed in your family law case, an attorney may be able to help you understand their role. 

When is a Guardian Ad Litem Appointed? 

A judge will appoint a Guardian ad Litem if a court proceeding involves minor children and the judge feels that the children need a trained adult to solely represent the interests of the children. A court may appoint a Guardian ad Litem in: 

  • Contentious Divorce - Parents going through a divorce in Illinois are always encouraged to reach an agreement when it comes to parenting time and allocation of parental responsibilities, or other important decisions regarding the children’s upbringing. This is not always possible. If there is a dispute, the court may call upon a Guardian ad Litem to help determine what arrangement would be best for the child. 

  • Adoptions - A Guardian ad Litem may represent a child who is being placed for adoption to ensure that the prospective adoptive parents are able to provide a good home environment and the adoption will be good for the child. 

  • Child Custody Disputes - In the case of unmarried parents who are not cooperatively co-parenting, the court may employ a Guardian ad Litem to help decide what type of visitation or parenting time for the non-custodial parent would benefit the child. 

What Does a Guardian ad Litem Do? 

A Guardian ad Litem will likely begin by talking to each child alone to assess what the child’s needs and wants are. The Guardian ad Litem may also make home visits to each parent or prospective adoptive parent’s home to gauge what type of home environment the parent would be able to provide to the child. After gathering information, the Guardian ad Litem will make a report to the court to communicate what she believes would be best for the children involved in the proceeding. 

Contact a Kane County Family Law Attorney

If you are involved in a family law proceeding that involves minor children, you need an experienced and compassionate attorney. Serrano Hanson will examine your case and provide an individualized approach to addressing your child custody or adoption concerns. Several of our attorneys are also qualified as Guardians ad Litem. Contact our Geneva Family Law Firm to learn how we can help. Call 630-844-8781 to arrange a confidential consultation.

 

Sources: 

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=075000050K506

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