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What is the Role of a Guardian ad Litem in a Texas Child Custody Dispute?

Posted on in Child Custody

austin child custody lawyerIn many Texas divorce cases, parents can reach a child custody agreement that serves their children’s best interests. However, it is not uncommon for parents to have significant disagreements or even serious concerns about the other parent’s influence on the children. When this is the case, a child custody dispute may need to be resolved through litigation, and the court may seek input from a representative known as a guardian ad litem when making decisions regarding a child’s best interests.

If you are involved in a complex child custody dispute, it is important to understand the role of a guardian ad litem and how it may affect the outcome of your case.

What Does a Guardian ad Litem Do?

There are a few different kinds of child representatives that the court may appoint in a child custody suit, but a guardian ad litem, or GAL, is one of the most common. The primary role of a GAL is to provide information to the court regarding a child’s best interests. Often, a GAL is a professional or a representative from a volunteer organization with a specific focus on the well-being of children. Anyone who serves as a GAL must have sufficient knowledge and training to fulfill their appointed duties.

In a divorce case or a child custody matter between two parents, an appointed GAL will conduct an investigation to gather information that is relevant to the decision at hand. The investigation may include:

  • Interviews with the child or children, if they are at least four years old

  • Interviews with each parent or party to the custody suit

  • Interviews with other people who have relevant knowledge of the child or children, including teachers, health care providers, and relatives

  • Review of any medical, educational, and psychological records for the child or children

  • Attendance at any legal proceedings or mediation regarding the custody matter

Based on the information gathered in the investigation, the GAL will create a report on the child’s best interests and submit it to the court, as well as the attorneys for each parent. The GAL may also be called to testify under oath in court hearings.

Contact an Austin Child Custody Lawyer

If a guardian ad litem has been appointed in your child custody case, it is important to cooperate with the GAL and to put your best foot forward in any interactions so as to demonstrate that you have your child’s best interests at heart. At Powers and Kerr, PLLC, our experienced Austin family law attorneys can help you prepare for the investigation and represent you throughout the legal process. Call us today at 512-610-6199 to get the legal representation you need.

 

Source:

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/FA/htm/FA.107.htm

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