What Not to Do When Interacting With Your Guardian Ad Litem

If you are in a highly contested divorce case, and the judge has appointed a guardian ad litem to represent the best interests of your child throughout the proceeding, you may wonder what that means for your child and what that requires from you as the parent.

Before diving in, let us first take a look at what a guardian ad litem is. Simply put, your child’s guardian ad litem represents your child’s best interests throughout the divorce case and will neutrally and impartially advocate for whatever she feels is in the child’s best interest. Guardians ad litem are often family law attorneys with specialized training and in-depth experience with child custody cases and other practice areas involving children and divorce.

Why Does My Child Need a Guardian Ad Litem?

Having a guardian ad litem assigned does not mean the judge questions your parenting abilities or your spouse’s parenting. It is most often because both parties in a contested divorce, including the legal teams, are busy representing their respective sides as strongly as possible, and without proper representation, any children involved in the case can:

  • Get lost in the processes
  • Become pawns or leveraging tools for either side
  • Suffer from final decisions that are not in their best interest

A guardian ad litem helps ensure the judge receives unbiased, objective information regarding the child and trusted opinions about what will be best for the child when the divorce is finalized.

How Will the Guardian Ad Litem Represent My Child?

The primary way your guardian ad litem will represent your child’s best interests is by conducting a thorough, detailed investigation into the child’s life and analyzing all the possible options for custody and/or visitation. The guardian ad litem will evaluate their findings and offer information and recommendations to the judge to help guide final decisions.

The investigation often includes:

  • Interviews with the child
  • Interviews with the parents and other family members
  • Interviews with family, friends, or neighbors
  • Interviews with the child’s teachers, doctors, specialists, and other relevant professionals who have a working relationship with the child
  • Assessments of both parents’ homes
  • Assessments of the child’s education
  • Assessments of relevant documents, from legal reports to educational, medical, financial, and other types of reports or records

What Should I Do and Not Do When Interacting With My Child’s Guardian Ad Litem?

You will have opportunities to interact with your child’s guardian ad litem at various points within your divorce case, mainly through interviews and other on-the-record conversations. Because you will need to speak with your guardian ad litem at times, you probably have questions about how to conduct yourself in conversations. What should you say and not say during your conversations? Are there more favorable answers to provide to help you achieve the outcomes you want? Should you coach your child to provide more favorable answers and responses?

First, know that your guardian ad litem is not out to get you or interfere with the outcomes you want from your divorce. They are only interested in helping your child by receiving honest answers from you. Your interviews will be straightforward and often examine details like:

  • Your history with the other parent
  • The details that have led to the custody dispute
  • Your child’s daily, weekly, and monthly routines
  • A self-evaluation of your parenting

And questions along those lines.

When interacting with your guardian ad litem, there are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind:

What to Do When Interacting With Your Guardian Ad Litem

  • DO treat the guardian ad litem with courtesy and respect.
  • DO offer the information they are asking for with straightforwardness and honesty.
  • DO provide documents in a timely manner if they have requested them (it is safe to speak with your lawyer first).
  • DO prepare yourself or your child for interviews (but never coach your child on what to say).

What NOT to Do When Interacting With Your Guardian Ad Litem

  • DO NOT refuse to cooperate with your guardian ad litem. Examples can include canceling interviews, making it difficult to schedule interviews, not showing up to your appointments, and other related behaviors.
  • DO NOT disrupt their interviews with your child, other figures in your circle, or people in your child’s life.
  • DO NOT coach your child on what they should or should not say in their interview. Your guardian ad litem is highly experienced in conducting such interviews and can tell when a child has been coached on what to say or not say. Should they detect coaching, it will reflect poorly on you.
  • DO NOT turn them away if they have dropped in unexpectedly or have arrived for a scheduled visit.
  • DO NOT carelessly bad-mouth the other parent or figures in your child’s life. Conveying certain negatives may seem necessary, but focusing on the positives and your efforts to provide the best for your child should be the goal. Your guardian ad litem will likely take notice of what you say and how you say it, especially if your messaging is negative, petty, mean-spirited, or gossipy.

Rachel Platt With Platt Family Law Is an Experienced Guardian Ad Litem.

Rachel Platt has served many children in Atlanta and the greater Atlanta metro area, advocating for them as their guardian ad litem. Rachel has undergone special training and education to receive qualifications and provide the best representation possible for her clients, and she continues to advocate for each child’s best interest.

If you are a client of Platt Family Law Firm and your case requires a guardian ad litem, Rachel and her team understand how to work with your child’s representative so that they may serve your child to the best of their ability while also assisting you in your pursuit for custody and other desirable outcomes.

Do you need a family law attorney for your child custody case in Atlanta, GA? Speak with the team at Platt Family Law.

Rachel Platt and our all-female family law attorneys represent families facing divorce, child custody disputes, and all other family law matters. Our knowledgeable, experienced attorneys can navigate your legal case, protecting your children and working toward positive, favorable outcomes.

Schedule a consultation with our firm today to discuss your case: 404-255-3434

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