If you are considering filing for divorce in the state of Georgia, one of the most critical aspects of your divorce is likely concerning the custody of your children. In most cases, spouses come together to agree on child custody arrangements and child support calculations. However, there are circumstances in which spouses simply cannot reach an agreement regarding child custody issues. These circumstances arise, there is a possibility that the court will appoint a guardian ad litem. Learn more about how a guardian ad litem will aspect the child custody decisions in your divorce case.
Guardian Ad Litem Appointment
A guardian ad litem is a representative acting as a neutral party specifically to ensure and determine the best interests of the child. Many people believe that a guardian ad litem is only appointed when there are instances of abuse or neglect. However, this is not true, and in many cases in which spouses cannot agree on child custody arrangements, a guardian ad litem can help facilitate cooperation regarding these important issues.
It is important to note that a guardian ad litem does not work on behalf of either parent of a child, instead they examine the living conditions and circumstances of the child to make recommendations to the court regarding child custody issues.
Powers of a Guardian Ad Litem
A person appointed as a guardian ad litem has a great deal of discretion and authority regarding the investigation of a child’s living environment, family relationships, friend relationships, academic environment, extracurricular activities, as well as all other circumstances. It may feel overwhelming to the parents to have such invasive questions asked regarding the well-being of their child. However, the purpose of a guardian ad litem truly is to facilitate an agreement between both parents regarding where the child will grow and thrive the best given the circumstances.
Rejecting a Guardian Ad Litem’s Decision
After a full investigation, a guardian ad litem will come to a conclusion and make recommendations regarding the child custody arrangements. As a parent, you may feel frustrated or angry that a complete stranger is coming in to make decisions that they feel are the best for your child. However, working with a guardian ad litem will often prove beneficial as they may have ideas that will coordinate and facilitate a better environment and custody arrangements.
If, however, you decide that a recommendation by a guardian ad litem is not in the best interest of your child, you have the right to request a different guardian ad litem to examine the circumstances surrounding the child custody issues. If you do not agree with that guardian ad litem’s decision, you still have the right to present to the court your own child custody and visitation schedule, along with reasons why this schedule would be in the best interest of your child. Ultimately, the judge in your divorce case will be the one who makes the final decision to approve a child visitation schedule.
Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney
If you are currently in the process of a divorce, and the court has appointed a guardian ad litem, contact the experienced family law attorneys at Lankford & Moore Law to help you understand your legal rights.