Going through a contested divorce or custody dispute leaves many people struggling to pay the bills while keeping an attorney retained. If the Court decides to appoint a Guardian ad Litem to your case, it can add extra stress. Here’s what to know about a Guardian ad Litem and why they might just be your best investment.
What is a Guardian ad Litem?
A Guardian Ad Litem is an attorney appointed by the Court to investigate and make independent recommendations regarding the ongoing dispute. In family law cases, they most often represent children who might not have a voice in the matter otherwise. I often hear parents say, “I know what my child wants” and regularly have the child admit that they are telling each parent what they think that parent wants to hear. It’s heartbreaking to see a child struggle while navigating unchartered territory.
As a Guardian Ad Litem, I spend a lot of time getting to know my clients, we hang out, play, go do fun things, and have great conversations. By the end of the case, I hope to have a bond with my clients that they will remember as a positive experience during their parents’ tumultuous times.
Children deserve to have our attention when they are caught in the middle of a dispute between parents without the fear of having to go to Court to be heard. I work diligently with the families in my Guardian Ad Litem cases to help them move forward and try to leave each family better off than they were when I met them.
Through my work as a Guardian ad Litem, I have been able to help free children from abusive homes, help families find the resources they needed to cope with whatever situation they were currently facing, and advocated for my clients in school, counseling, at home and wherever else it was needed. A Guardian Ad Litem allows our most precious resources a chance to have their voices heard, free from coaching and pressure of third parties and that can sometimes be the difference between a child reporting or not reporting issues they’re dealing with.
One aspect of the job of a Guardian ad Litem is home-visits. This can be so helpful for a family who is under attack with allegations that their home is unfit. It also helpful in determining where a child feels safe and secure and whom that child feels safe with.
Why is this investigation so important?
First, a Judge is not going to come to your home to see how great it is or go to the other party’s home to see how terrible it is. Second, an average Guardian ad Litem investigation takes longer than the average length of a trial meaning you have more time to present the evidence you need to show than you generally get in front of a Judge. Third, the Guardian ad Litem can help settle disputes, resolve issues and often resolve your entire case after a thorough investigation, which will save you money.
So, why hire a Guardian Ad Litem? Because your child is worth it.
Kimberly Rennie grew up in metro Detroit and relocated to Oklahoma after law school. She began her legal career as an Assistant District Attorney for Grady and Caddo Counties where she gained invaluable experience working for the citizens of Oklahoma. Prior to joining the Whitbeck Bennett, she worked as a solo practitioner in Oklahoma County serving people and families across the great state of Oklahoma for over 10 years. To learn more, click here.