When navigating a child custody dispute or other family law matters involving children, Colorado courts may appoint a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) to the case. The GAL’s role is integral to the process, and understanding what they do can help parents and families better navigate these challenging situations.
What is a Guardian Ad Litem?
A Guardian ad Litem (GAL) is a court-appointed representative tasked with investigating and advocating for the best interests of a child involved in a legal dispute. This may be a family law case such as divorce, child custody, or abuse and neglect proceedings. In Colorado, the GAL is often a licensed attorney with specialized training in child advocacy.
Role and Duties of a GAL
The GAL will conduct a thorough investigation, which typically includes interviewing the child, parents, and other relevant parties, as well as reviewing pertinent records related to the child’s health, education, and welfare.
Once the investigation is complete, the GAL will make recommendations to the court regarding the child’s best interests. These recommendations may include custody arrangements, visitation schedules, or suggestions for additional services such as counseling or therapeutic support.
It’s important to note that while the GAL’s recommendations carry significant weight, the final decision on all matters lies with the judge.
GAL’s Relationship with the Child
In Colorado, the GAL also serves as the child’s legal representative. This means they have an attorney-client relationship with the child, and must respect and uphold the associated confidentiality.
The GAL is responsible for explaining the court process to the child in an age-appropriate manner, and taking into account the child’s wishes and preferences when making recommendations to the court.
How to Interact with a GAL
If a GAL is appointed to your case, cooperation is key. Be prepared to provide any necessary information and to engage in open, honest communication. While it may feel intimidating to be scrutinized, remember that the GAL is there to protect your child’s interests, not to judge your parenting.
The role of a Guardian ad Litem in a Colorado family law case is essential to ensuring that the child’s best interests are at the forefront of all proceedings.
The team at Baker Law Group, your trusted Denver Family Lawyer, can guide you through this complex process and help you understand what to expect when a GAL is involved in your case.
Our experienced Colorado Famil/y Attorney team is committed to advocating for you and your family’s rights in these challenging situations. Contact us today to learn more.