Sometimes in family disputes it becomes necessary to bring in a third party as a guardian ad litem for the benefit of any children involved. This individual, the guardian ad litem, is court-appointed, and is often a lawyer or a person having years of experience working with children, such as retired child care providers, guidance counselors or teachers who have volunteered to become guardian ad litem for the South Carolina family court. The guardian ad litem is tasked with representing the best interest of the child during divorce proceedings, child custody and visitation disputes, and parental rights cases.
The Purpose of A Guardian ad Litem
A guardian ad litem is not required in every case, but rather is reserved for situations where the parents of a child are in a highly contested dispute over something related to the child. If the judge or the parents themselves believe it would be in the best interests of the child to have a person representing the interests of the child, then a guardian ad litem will be appointed.
A guardian ad litem’s purpose is twofold: the guardian ad litem will perform both an observatory role and an advisory role in the matter.
In some situations, the guardian ad litem will be tasked with observing the family and gathering information on behalf of the court as to what the child’s home situation is like and how the child interacts with his or her parents and other relatives, in order to develop a better understanding of what outcome of the family dispute would be in the best interest of the child. The guardian ad litem will establish lines of communication with the child, parents, and various other people in the child’s life by which the guardian will be able to build a complete picture of the child’s life. The guardian ad litem is to report to the family court the observations that he or she has made in a non-biased, factual way that fairly represents what would be in the best interest of the child.
A guardian ad litem also serves an advocacy role in the resolution of the family dispute. Keeping the best interests of the child in focus, the guardian ad litem may be encouraged to make recommendations or suggestions to the judge on matters relating to the child. Suggestions and recommendations must be supported by facts and observations made by the guardian ad litem. Limitations are placed on how and what a guardian ad litem can recommend. For example, there is a strong prohibition against the guardian ad litem making a written or oral child custody recommendation. However, guardians often provide evidence and facts in their report to the family court that suggest to the judge what the guardian ad litem believes to be in the best interests of the child.
Contacting a Charleston Family Law Attorney
Family disputes are difficult on everyone in the family, and when things get too heated, a guardian ad litem might be a good thing for the best interests of your child or children. Whether you are dealing with child custody or visitation issues, name change disputes related to the child or are having difficulties in your divorce, the family law attorneys at Sarji Law Firm, LLC are here to help you. Contact us today at 843-323-4341.