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Law Offices of Stephen K. Miller, P.A
 

Guardian ad litems: should I hire one for my family law case involving children?

Often times in family law cases involving children, it may be helpful to have a guardian ad litem appointed to help evaluate the child's best interest. Guardian ad litems are not attorneys or advocates for the child, they act as investigators and evaluators who assess aspects of the case from an objective, third-party perspective and make a recommendation to the Court of how to resolve the pertinent issues in the case.

Guardian ad litems are permitted by Florida law to investigate allegations made by a party in the dispute, such as those of abuse or lack of compliance with a court order. They may interview the child involved, along with witnesses, or any other person who has information concerning the welfare of the child. In some circumstances, a guardian ad litem may be permitted to view records and documents relating to the child or the parties, if permitted by the Court. They may also be able to petition the Court to order expert examinations of the child or the parties, if necessary. It is often the case that a guardian ad litem is able to spend a significant amount of time with the child, the parties and the witnesses thereby summarizing a vast amount of objective information for the Court.

Most commonly, the need for a guardian ad litem arises in contested divorce or child custody cases when accusations are made by one or both parties regarding the child's welfare. It may be helpful in a case where a child is too young to communicate directly with the Court to have a guardian ad litem appointed who will be able to spend time with the child and provide additional information to the Court.

There are also possible risks of hiring a guardian ad litem as it may just be one more variable in an already contested and highly litigious case. An experienced family law attorney can make the determination of whether or not a guardian ad litem is appropriate for your case.

In addition to custody matters, our firm also takes on cases involving divorce, relocation issues, domestic violence injunctions, will and probate, criminal defense, personal injury, medical malpractice, and wrongful death cases. While our main office is in Gainesville, we also handle family law matters through our satellite offices in Ocala, Cheifland, Lake City, and Palatka.

For help with your legal issue, contact the Law Offices of Stephen K. Miller for a free phone consultation at (866) 496-8752 or via email at Info@ForYourLaw.com

BY: Stephanie N. Mack, Board Certified Marital & Family Law Attorney

November 5, 2012
 
 
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