In Newport News child custody cases, judges often appoint a Guardian ad Litem, also called a “GAL” for the children involved in the dispute. Most Newport News Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court judges do not want to have children testify in court for a child custody hearing. These cases can be very emotional for the parents, and are also stressful for the children. A Guardian ad Litem (GAL) is an experienced family law attorney who is appointed by the court to represent the interests of the children in a contested child custody case.
What A Guardian Ad Litem for Custody Cases Does
The GAL will interview the children to help understand their relationship with the parents involved, and the current custody arrangements. In some cases, the children may express a preference to live with a particular parent that they may not have actually told the parents themselves. The Guardian will also meet with the parents and discuss custody and visitation plans, living arrangements, education issues, and provision of health insurance and services.
After investigating the case, the GAL will issue a report of their findings and recommendations to the Court. A good GAL will issue a written report that is available to the attorneys for each of the parents. The court is never required to follow the recommendations of the GAL, but it is very common that they will do so.
How Your Child Custody Lawyer Works with the GAL
Some parents unfortunately think of the GAL as an adversary, or may make disparaging comments about the other parent to the GAL. The GAL ‘s role is not to favor one parent or the other, but to form an opinion as to what is in the best interest of the children, their client. You should always be respectful to the GAL and never get emotional about your relationship with your children, the other parent, or the other parent’s relationship with the children.
If you have a contested child custody case in Newport News, or anywhere on the Virginia Peninsula, a GAL can be a major asset in your case. Our Newport News child custody attorneys will advise you on the role of a GAL and how you can better prepare yourself to get the best possible outcome in your child custody case. Furthermore, we will work with the Guardian ad litem directly to ensure they have the full story, and understand the most important facts about your case and your child’s situation. If you find that you are going to have a contentious and hard-fought child custody case, you deserve to have a Newport News Custody Lawyer who is ready for the fight.