Divorcing spouses rarely agree on everything, even if they can get along with each other. One of the things they may disagree on is how to best raise their children. If the couple is unable to come to a child custody agreement on their own, they will have to turn to the New York family courts for help. However, it may be difficult for the judge to make this decision without much insight into how the family operates.
Because of this, the judge may decide to appoint a guardian ad litem to act as an advocate for the child and provide them with a clearer picture of the child’s life before they make such an important decision.
What does a GAL do?
The guardian ad litem’s primary goal will be to observe the child’s everyday life and find out more about what custody arrangement would work best for them. During their investigation, the guardian ad litem may:
- Visit both parents at their respective homes.
- Review child’s school and medical records.
- Conduct interviews with teachers, friends, family and other members of the community who are involved in the child’s life.
- Observe the child’s daily routine during the school week and on weekends.
Once the guardian ad litem has collected enough information, they will typically put together a report for the judge to review. In this report, the GAL will recommend a custody plan that they think will serve the child’s best interests.
Keep in mind that a GAL is not your child’s attorney, but rather a neutral party focused on making sure that your child is cared for in the best way possible after your separation.
If a GAL has been appointed in your case, you should consider speaking to a family law attorney. Your attorney will represent you and your children throughout the divorce proceedings and make sure your voices are heard.