If you're entering a custody case, you might have come across the term guardian ad litem. This refers to an attorney who has been appointed to represent the interests of the children. If you want legal representation, you will still need your own lawyer to proceed with the case.
The guardian ad litem is responsible for collecting information about the case, and the individual experiences of the children, to be put into a recommendation report. During your custody trial, you will likely communicate with the guardian ad litem at least a few times, either answering questions yourself or coordinating information for the children.
It's important that your communication with the guardian ad litem is always professional and prompt. Judges tend to rely heavily on the expertise of the lawyer who has been appointed to represent the children, so it's in your best interests to cultivate a professional relationship. Refrain from getting into petty attacks or other details that relate to you and your spouse- try to focus your communication strictly about the children. The guardian ad litem will compile all of their research into a custody recommendation report that is delivered to the judge.
Of course, a judge will base decisions about final custody arrangements on a multitude of factors, but custody reports are often a foundation for these determinations, as they are meant to be comprehensive and well-researched.
You and your spouse will likely be responsible for splitting the costs associated with the guardian ad litem, so it's helpful to know in advance that you will be partially financially responsible. Make sure to pay your fees in a timely fashion, just as you would any other invoice. The guardian ad litem is not out to get you, but it's definitely to your benefit to approach the entire situation as professionally as possible. If you need more advice about your divorce case, contact a family lawyer today.
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