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Debunking Common Misconceptions Regarding Guardian Ad Litems

Posted on July 28, 2023 in Family Law

Arlington Heights Family LawyerGuardian ad litems (GALs) play a crucial role in the legal system, representing the best interests of vulnerable individuals, such as children whose parents are getting divorced. However, misconceptions surrounding their work persist. Today, we will be debunking common misunderstandings associated with GALs and shed light on their critical role in safeguarding those who cannot advocate for themselves. If you believe guardian ad litem would be beneficial to your legal situation, discuss this with your divorce attorney to try and come up with a plan to get guardian ad litem involved in your case.

Misconception #1 ā€“ GALs are Advocates for One Party Only

One common misconception is that GALs solely advocate for one side in a legal dispute. However, the primary responsibility of a GAL is to represent and protect the best interests of the individual they are appointed to represent. They objectively assess what is in the person's well-being, considering multiple factors like their physical and emotional needs, safety, and future prospects. GALs work independently and serve as a neutral voice in court proceedings, guiding the court toward a decision that ensures the individual's welfare. 

Misconception #2 ā€“ GALs Are Decision Makers 

GALs are not empowered to make legal decisions. Their role is to provide recommendations to the court based on their extensive investigations and assessments. They gather information, interview witnesses, review relevant documentation, and analyze the case's circumstances to inform their recommendations on custody, visitation, or other matters. Although their guidance holds significant weight, the ultimate decision lies with the judge, who considers all the evidence and GAL reports alongside other relevant factors. 

Misconception #3 - GALs Only Work in Child Custody Cases

While GALs are commonly associated with child custody disputes, their scope extends beyond this realm. GALs may be appointed in cases involving vulnerable adults, individuals with disabilities, or those involved with guardianship or conservatorship proceedings. They provide invaluable insights into these individuals' unique interests and needs, ensuring their rights and well-being are protected during legal proceedings. GALs advocate for those unable to articulate their preferences, ensuring their voices are heard and respected.

Misconception #4 ā€“ GALs Are Very Expensive

The final misconception we will be debunking is that the appointment of a GAL is an expensive undertaking. Although GALs may be compensated, their services are usually essential for ensuring just and proper outcomes in legal cases involving vulnerable individuals. The costs associated with GALs are often regulated or determined by the court and can vary based on jurisdiction. Their services are an investment in safeguarding the rights and welfare of those who need additional support in complex legal matters. 

Contact an Arlington Heights, IL Divorce Lawyer

Guardian ad litems play an indispensable role in the legal system, protecting the best interests of children and vulnerable individuals. For legal guidance, contact the experienced Arlington Heights, IL divorce attorneys with A. Traub & Associates. Call 847-749-4182 for a private consultation. 

 

Source:

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=075000050K506

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