Why Is A Guardian Ad Litem Assigned To An Orlando Custody Case?
Some divorcing couples reach a stalemate regarding custody of their children. In other cases, the other spouse or court may suspect child abuse and is rightfully concerned about the child’s welfare. In addition, if the court suspects that parental alienation is in play or that the parents cannot separate their own turmoil and marriage termination from the needs of their shared child, the court may appoint a child’s best interest attorney. In Florida custody and divorce cases, the presiding judge sometimes finds it necessary to appoint a court-approved lawyer specifically to represent the child in proceedings and to act as a liaison between the parents and their divorce attorneys. Depending on the unique circumstances and nature of the child’s needs, the court may appoint a child attorney or guardian ad litem.
Impact on Custody Cases
The guardian ad litem is assigned by the court to represent the child during a divorce and custody case. Fla. Stat. § 39.820 (2020). The guardian will conduct interviews, represent the child at all hearings, advocate for the child’s best interests, and serve as a liaison for the adult parent’s counsel and the child. If child abuse is suspected, the guardian ad litem may prepare an investigative report for the court along with a child social worker. The guardian may also interview both parents separately, with their attorneys present, to glean if a resolution is possible or if the child’s best interest is being seriously considered by the parties.
Depending on the guardian ad litem’s recommendations, the court may require one or both parties to attend family therapy, child development classes, or even anger management courses. If the court still finds that it would be against the child’s best interest for one parent to have custody, the court may find that the other party has primary legal and physical custody. If abuse is suspected and substantiated, that parent may lose custody rights but still be compelled to pay child support. That parent may be granted the right to supervised visitation with the child attended by a court liaison. In other cases, the guardian may be removed midway through a case if the court is satisfied that the parties (parents) take the case seriously, understand the gravity of the situation and are willing to put the child’s needs before their concerns.
Call Orlando Custody Attorney Steve Marsee Today
If the judge in your custody case has assigned a guardian ad litem to your child, or you have questions about the process, contact Orlando child custody attorney Steve Marsee. Parents cannot choose the attorney to represent their child, only the court can appoint one. This becomes incredibly contentious and often leaves the child caught in the middle if there is a dispute about primary physical custody. With more than three decades of experience on his side, Steve Marsee is dedicated to finding an amicable solution for his clients. Call today to schedule a consultation.