431 Williamsburg Avenue
Geneva, IL 60134


When Is a Guardian ad Litem Appointed in an Illinois Family Law Case?

 Posted on July 07, 2021 in Family Law

Kane County family law attorneyDuring a divorce or child custody case, parents may disagree about multiple different types of issues, including how they will share in making important decisions for their children and when children will live with each parent. While parents may be able to resolve these disagreements by negotiating with each other and their respective attorneys or participating in mediation, there are some cases where parents may reach an impasse and be unable to resolve these matters on their own. When decisions about child custody are left up to a family court judge, a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) may be appointed to help determine how to resolve these issues.

Understanding the Role of a Guardian ad Litem

When a judge is asked to make decisions about child custody, they may not have enough information about the case to be able to determine what arrangements would be in the children’s best interests. To gain the necessary information, the judge may appoint a Guardian ad Litem, who is an attorney that will advocate on behalf of the children rather than either parent. A parent may also request that a GAL be appointed during their case.

The GAL will use a variety of methods to gather information about the case. These may include:

  • Meeting with the parents either together or separately to discuss the case, gain an understanding of their individual desires, and determine whether compromises may be possible
  • Interviewing the children to discuss their relationship with their parents, their desires, and any issues that may affect them
  • Visiting both parents’ homes to ensure that they can provide a safe space for children and have the ability to accommodate children’s needs
  • Contacting others who may have relevant information about the case, such as extended family members, teachers, daycare providers, or children’s therapists
  • Obtaining relevant records from children’s schools or doctors or psychologists who have treated the children or the parents

After completing their investigation, the GAL will either submit a written report to the court or testify during a hearing or trial. The GAL will provide recommendations for how they believe matters related to the custody of children should be resolved based on what is in the children’s best interests. The parents’ attorneys will be able to cross-examine the GAL, asking questions about their recommendations. While the judge will not be required to follow the GAL’s recommendations, their opinions will be likely to play a significant role in the ultimate decisions about child custody.

Contact Our Geneva Child Custody Attorneys

At Serrano Hanson, our attorneys have experience serving as Guardians ad Litem in family law cases, and this provides us with an understanding of the role that a GAL plays in addressing matters related to child custody. If a Guardian ad Litem has been appointed in your case, we can advise you on the best ways to assist with their investigation and demonstrate that you can provide for your children’s best interests. To get legal help with issues related to your children, contact our Kane County child custody lawyers at 630-844-8781.




Share this post:
Illinois state bar association kane county bar association dupage county bar association dekalb bar association
Back to Top