If divorcing parents cannot agree on a custody and visitation arrangement for their child, the court may assign a guardian ad litem (GAL) to represent the interests of a child in a Wisconsin child custody dispute.
Contested Child Custody and Visitation
A guardian ad litem is a person the court appoints to investigate what solutions are in the best interests of the child. They are typically appointed in contested child custody and visitation cases, but they may also be involved in adoptions, termination of parental rights cases or other cases that require more information about the child’s circumstances.
A GAL can look at things such as where the child should live most of the time, whether there are issues of substance abuse, or what contact a child should have with a parent. Depending on what is in the court order, a GAL may be asked to report on the overall situation and offer a custody recommendation to the court or their role may be limited to investigating a few specific issues.
The best interests of the child are first and foremost in a disputed custody case, of course. The GAL’s recommendation should strive to protect the child’s right to a meaningful, engaged relationship with both parents when possible factoring in the child’s age, the existing relationship with each parent, the stability of the home environments, and each parent’s ability to care for the child among other considerations.
A Guardian ad litem is typically an attorney or a mental health professional who has undergone special training to represent the best interests of a child. In some cases, a parent may feel that a guardian ad litem is not working effectively on behalf of their child, which may be resolved by sharing your concerns with the GAL or sharing your concerns with the court.
Within the general provisos of the Order, a GAL is required to inform the court when his or her recommendation is not in sync with a child’s wishes. To protect privacy, the report provided by the GAL is sealed so that only the parties to the custody dispute and the court can access the information. Your cooperation with the GAL is required by law and it is not permitted to exercise undue influence over your child to gain advantage during the evaluation.
Wisconsin Child Custody Dispute Lawyers
If you have questions regarding child custody in a divorce, contact the Wisconsin child custody dispute lawyers of Probst Law Offices for assistance. If you are dealing with a child custody or visitation matter, it is important to have an experienced Wisconsin family law attorney on your side. Attorneys Jane Probst and Lyndsay White have successfully represented many clients who have family law issues regarding the custody of their children in a divorce. Contact our offices at 414-210-3135 for a free consultation of your case.