Retaining A Guardian Ad Litem In A Custody Dispute

In your Georgia divorce or custody modification, the family court judge may appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL) on behalf of the child. The guardian, usually an attorney, looks into the family dynamics and reports back to the court on what would be in the child's best interests.

Because judges tend to follow guardian ad litem recommendations, the GAL can play a pivotal role in the outcome of your contested custody case. At Hill Macdonald, LLC, we counsel clients on how to work with agents of the court to foster a fair and practical assessment. We have also challenged guardian ad litems when their unfounded conclusions led to unfair custody rulings or loss of parental rights.

With great power comes great responsibility. As your attorneys, we hold guardians ad litem to a high standard and will not hesitate to call them out when they have not done their jobs correctly.

What Does A Guardian Ad Litem Do?

A guardian ad litem (GAL) is the child's advocate in disputes between the parents. In a divorce or paternity action, or in custody modification or relocation proceeding, the guardian submits a recommendation to the court that reflects the best interests of the child. This may include where the child would live, whether the child's well-being is endangered, and what role or contact each parent should have.

The guardian will talk to the child, family members, teachers and other witnesses to assemble a picture of the child's situation. They have wide latitude to gather information, including evidence that might otherwise not be admissible in court.

Keeping The Playing Field Fair For Parents

Most guardian ad litems are experienced professionals who are thorough and unbiased in their assessments. Unfortunately, some GALs are unqualified, take shortcuts or approach cases with an agenda. If they are not diligent or fair in their reports, you could be relegated to a minor role in your child's upbringing or cast as a villain in court proceedings.

We keep the guardians honest through our own vigilance. Did they contact the list of witnesses we provided? Did they downplay or dismiss critical information? Do their reports always seem to favor one side? If necessary, we will pursue motions to impeach the GAL's findings.

We Understand The Stakes

Hill Macdonald, LLC, practices in the family courts of Cobb County, Fulton County and surrounding jurisdictions. Contact our Marietta custody lawyers toll free at 866-276-2839, or contact us online to schedule an appointment.