Guiding You Through Guardian ad Litem Investigations
When two parents cannot reach an agreement on child custody, visitation or other issues impacting the wellbeing of their children, the court will decide for them. Attorneys representing either parent will make favorable arguments that present their client in the best possible light. However, only a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) can provide the court with objective insight that truly demonstrates what is in the best interests of the child.
Guardian ad Litem investigations can be an integral part of your custody case. At the Law Offices of Sheila C. Harrington, we can prepare you for what to expect in the process. To discuss an upcoming evaluation or the specifics of your custody case, contact our firm at (978)448-9601 to schedule a consultation. Located in Harvard, Massachusetts, we are positioned to serve clients throughout central Massachusetts.
Your Guardian ad Litem Investigation
Attorney Sheila C. Harrington is a certified Guardian ad Litem in Massachusetts. This enables our firm to provide clients with valuable insight into the evaluation process.
- When is a GAL appointed? A Guardian ad Litem (GAL) may be appointed when the judge needs impartial information about interactions within the family or about a parent’s ability to provide the nurturing support a child needs. A GAL is commonly appointed in custody disputes, relocation/removal proceedings (where a parent wishes to move out of state), termination of parental rights proceedings and requests for modification of court orders. A GAL may also be appointed when an abuse or neglect allegation is made against a parent, when there is concern over a parent’s mental stability, or when a parent is alleged to have an alcohol or chemical dependency problem.
- What does the investigation entail? Although the process may slightly differ for each Guardian ad Litem, the GAL will want to observe and talk with both the parents and children. The GAL will likely interview each parent separately, the children separately and each parent with the children. An important piece of information collected from these interviews involves observations made by the GAL — how you interacted with your child, how your child interacted with the other parent, how you interacted with the GAL, etc.
The next part of the investigation involves the GAL interviewing other important people who may provide valuable insight, including teachers, child care providers, family members, family doctors and other professionals.
Once the Guardian ad Litem has collected sufficient factual information, he or she will compile a report that the court can use in making decisions about child custody and visitation (parenting time), modifications of existing custody or parenting plans, and other family law matters that impact the well-being of the child.
Our family lawyers can be of great assistance when you have a GAL investigation ahead of you. To speak with an attorney about your situation, call (978) 448-9601 or contact us by e-mail.