Appointment of Guardian Ad Litem Attorney


#1

My ex supposedly “served” me with a motion to appoint a Guardian Ad Litem attorney for our 9 year old child. Not sure of my ex’s angle, but the ex has been attempting to take visitation away from me for whatever reason the ex can fathom. Fortunately, I have no skeleton’s in my closet and about the only battle won by the ex was to get a judge to command me to move back into the county where our child resides, else loose 60% of my time each month. So I moved back into the county to keep that from happening. So, her next move was to bring this motion to appoint a GAL. Not sure why and I missed the hearing because I don’t ever recall actuallybeing served the paperwork. It “appeared” in my vehicle one day evidentially while I was at the courthouse arguing CS with my ex. My guess is, I had my window cracked and the ex slipped it in and the ex’s attorney claimed to have served it on me personally. I found it between the passenger side door and seat about four days too late. (Noone ever rides with me, I rarely open the passenger door.) There is NO record of my having accepted the document from the ex’s attorney other than the attorney’s word against mine. So it brings to question, why was there a signature page indicating my ex had been served this paperwork, yet they did not require a signature from me to indicate I had been served? Is there anything I can do about it now? I checked the court transcripts fo rhte date I missed and the judge honored the ex’s request to appint an GAL for our child. Can I dispute it now that i have missed the court date? How can I find out who it will be and what can I expect the next move to be from my ex?


#2

If your ex is playing games with this whole situation, having a Guardian-Ad-Litem is not necessarily a bad thing, as they are appointed on behalf of the child and to represent the child’s interests. Some counties allow for appointment of guardians on a regular basis.

If you want to have this person removed, though, you can make a motion before the court that you had no knowledge of the court date, you object to the appointment and that you move for the person to be removed as Guardian.


#3

I’ve recently dealt with a GAL investigation, as well. My STBX was trying to get as much custody as possible and was exploiting the system. From my limited experience, the judge was ok with appointing a GAL based on my STBX’s word alone. If there are allegations, it doesn’t hurt the judge one bit to appoint a GAL. In my case, I was in court when my STBX requested it, and the judge basically said that he didn’t care if I objected or if there was no evidence, just my STBX’s complaints. That was enough for him to order a GAL.

I have no skeletons as a parent, either. The GAL has interviewed me, the kids, my ex, friends, teachers, etc. and has come up with nothing that is a legitimate concern. The GAL, I believe, is happy to have the fees, and it isn’t like I can encourage the GAL to hurry up, so it can take a while.

There is some advice out there on preparing for a GAL investigation. You should know everything about your kid(s)- health, school, friends, schedules, doctors, nutrition, birthdays, likes/dislikes, their concerns, etc. The more you can do to keep the children out of conflict, the more the accusations will ring hollow. You need to be present in their lives- school events, contact teachers, sporting events, doing stuff with them. When the GAL interviews your kids it needs to be very obvious that you are an involved, caring, committed parent.

The GAL did turn out to be good for me- but I have been working to deserve a good report. Now, my STBX knows that she really can’t allege anything that will stick in the upcoming permanent custody hearing. I found it very disconcerting and crazy, though, to be put through this investigation. It made me feel paranoid- I didn’t think there was anything I’ve done wrong, but if my STBX thinks she has something, what is it?

Make sure you have other people who have seen you parent, as well.

Anyway, that has been my experience. Good luck to you.