If you are considering filing for a divorce, or in the process of divorce In the state of Georgia, one of the areas that receive the greatest amount of attention and concern typically relates to child custody and visitation matters. If you have minor children, and can not come to a consensus with your soon to be ex-spouse regarding how to appropriately divide custody and visitation regarding your child or children, the court may appoint a guardian at litem to help the court make a determination regarding these issues.
Understanding a Guardian Ad Litem Appointment
The courts in the state of Georgia have the legal right to appoint a guardian ad litem to represent that “best interest of the child” in all legal matters regarding their custody in a divorce. It is important to note that a guardian ad litem does not work on behalf of either parent, but only attempts to identify what is truly in the best interest of the child. Additionally, child abuse or child neglect do not need to be present for a court to make the decision to appoint a guardian ad litem. Rather, this appointment often occurs when spouses simply can not come to an agreement regarding the child custody and visitation schedule and/or arrangements.
Legal Powers and Responsibility of a Guardian Ad Litem
A guardian ad litem has the legal power and responsibility to investigate the environment of a child in order to make a determination regarding custody and visitation arrangements. For example, a guardian ad litem may interview family members, friends of the family, teachers, and others involved in the development of the child. They have the legal right and authority to ask questions regarding the living conditions and environment of the child. Many of these questions are personal in nature. Some family members and friends may feel that these questions are too intrusive, however, they must be answered in order for the guardian ad litem to develop an accurate picture of the surroundings, circumstances, and environment of the child. If any person fails to cooperate willingly with a guardian ad litem, they will likely receive a subpoena to answer questions in court.
Following a complete investigation, a guardian ad litem will then issue a recommendation to the court regarding child custody, child visitation arrangements or other matters involving the safety of the minor child. It is important to note that the court does not have to take the advice of the guardian ad litem and the parents have the legal right to provide their own rebuttal regarding the best interest of the child.
Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney
If you discover that a guardian ad litem is appointed to your case, you may feel frustrated, angry, and anxious regarding what they will discover and what their recommendations will be. Visiting with an experienced family law attorney can help you determine your next steps. Contact Moffitt Law, LLC to help you with your next steps regarding child custody and your divorce. Contact us online or at (762) 208-5723 for a free consultation.