The St. Charles divorce attorneys and child custody lawyers at Boehmer Law understand that divorce with children, modifications and custody issues are all stressful situations when all the parties are not in agreement. In a contested custody matter or modification, many parents are rightfully concerned about who will be representing the interest of their children in and out of the court room. During these legal proceedings, divorce attorneys, modification attorneys, custody lawyers or the court may request that a Guardian Ad Litem is assigned to assist in your legal proceedings.
A Guardian Ad Litem is typically an attorney who has completed a mandated number of continuing legal education hours (training) who is appointed by the Family Court Judge to represent the interest of your children.
In a divorce or custody matter the Court may appoint a Guardian Ad Litem upon its own motion or upon the motion of one of the parties. But, a Guardian Ad Litem is not appointed in every contested custody case.
According to Missouri Law a Guardian Ad Litem may be appointed in any proceeding for child custody, divorce or legal separation where custody, visitation, or support of a child is a contested issue. Depending on the individual Judge presiding over your cu-stody matter, the mere fact that you may have a contested issue of custody may not be- enough for the Judge to appoint a Guardian Ad Litem. However, Missouri law provides that when allegations of abuse or neglect of a child are raised one shall be appointed.
Once appointed, it is the Guardian Ad Litem's responsibility to investigate any allegations of abuse or neglect including conducting interviews of all parties, relevant witnesses and reviewing relevant documentary evidence as necessary. They possess subpoena power just like the other parties in your custody matter and may subpoena witnesses, examine, cross-examine witnesses and testify as to their findings relevant to the children's best interest.
The role of the Guardian Ad Litem is an important one in any contested custody case and the influence they can have on the outcome can be very significant. A respected Guardian Ad Litem's recommendations as to the custodial arrangement can often seem to be the deciding factor in your Family Court Judge's decision. Therefore, it is critical that you have an in-depth discussion with your legal counsel about the specific role of the Guardian Ad Litem in your particular custody case and have a good understanding as to their role in your particular set of circumstances. If you ever have any questions, do not hesitate to talk to your attorney.
If you need help with any Family Law or Custody issues, please call Boehmer Law at 636-896-4020 today so that we can help you. Your first consultation appointment is always free. Our expert Family Law Attorneys and Custody Attorneys in St. Charles, MO are here to fight for you and your family.