February 9, 2015

Defining Guardian ad Litem in Illinois

Child Custody, Illinois family law attorney

If you are going through a divorce, or have had a cataclysmic event in your family, issues of child custody may arise. If a court determines that a child is unsafe, or will not be provided for in the home of his or her parents or parent, a court will rule that the child must be removed from the home. One very common instance of this is one involving child abuse. Another is a situation in which a custodial parent or both parents are heavily involved in drug use to which a child is exposed. In many cases, the parents from whom the child is removed are not fit to represent the best interests of their child in court. When this is the case, the court will appoint a Guardian ad Litem.

In most instances, a Guardian ad Litem is a volunteer attorney or is training to be an accredited attorney and may want to obtain real-world, hands-on experience. No legal skills are required, but all those who wish to volunteer as a Guardian ad Litem must attend a mandatory training session and orientation. According to the Chicago Volunteer Legal Services Foundation, a Guardian ad Litem acts on behalf of a child by meeting with all involved parties, including school workers, mental health professionals, and social workers.

In a child custody case in which one or both parents is present and a Guardian ad Litem is appointed, it is imperative to understand how to work with the Guardian ad Litem. Though a Guardian is a volunteer, often without professional legal training, he or she has the power to advocate on behalf of a child in court. Therefore, anything you say or do can be held against you.

If you are dealing with a custody issue and suspect that a Guardian ad Litem will be appointed, it is crucial to seek the counsel of a lawyer who understands the process. Do no go through it alone. Contact an experienced family law attorney in DuPage County today.