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How a guardian ad litem can benefit fathers

Like several states, Illinois courts may use a guardian ad litem in a child custody case. The reason for appointing a guardian ad litem is so the court can have a better idea of what custody arrangement is in the best interest of the child.

Generally speaking, a guardian ad litem, or GAL, is an attorney, but does not have to be. In custody cases, the GAL's role is to investigate the child's living circumstances and also to speak with those involved in the child's life, as well as the child. After doing an investigation, the GAL files a report with the court summarizing their conclusions and making recommendations to the judge. The judge does not have to accept these recommendations, and either parent may contest or add to the GAL's report or call the GAL as a witness in the custody case.

Generally speaking, GALs are helpful in situations where it is important the child involved has someone in court advocating for what is in their best interest. GALs can be advantageous to Springfield dads who are seeking to advocate for their fathers' rights precisely because they offer a neutral perspective vis-a-vis the two parents, at least in theory. The GAL's sole interest is supposed to be doing what is best for the child, and, generally speaking, children benefit by having both parents in their lives.

In other words, a dad should feel free to go to a GAL and make his concerns known about his children and about how much time he needs to spend with them in order to forge a meaningful relationship. However, since the GAL's recommendations aren't always accepted and can or may need to be challenged, a dad should not let the GAL take his place in seeking out the assistance of an experienced Illinois family law attorney.

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