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Do you need a guardian ad litem in a custody case?

On Behalf of | Nov 14, 2022 | Custody |

You’ve split from your children’s other parent, but the battles are far from over. Custody and visitation are constant sticking points, and your ex seems to have a difficult time following the existing parenting plan.

In fact, you are no longer certain that shared parenting is actually in your child’s best interests, but you aren’t sure how to present your case to the court without seeming punitive or vindictive toward your ex after all the conflicts you’ve had.

Enlisting a guardian ad litem might help.

What’s a guardian ad litem do?

Your children cannot advocate for themselves in court, and you know that you’re on some treacherous ground – so a guardian ad litem might be the perfect solution. In South Carolina, a guardian ad litem is appointed by the court to represent the best interests of the children – without regard to either parent’s desires.

A guardian ad litem does two main things:

  • They investigate the situation with the children and each household. This is generally through interviews with each member of the family, inspections of each home and observations of each parent and their interactions with the children.
  • They report their findings to the court. While they cannot make specific recommendations on how custody and visitation should be decided, their reports about each parent’s capabilities regarding child care and cooperation with parenting plans, and their words have weight.

This means, for example, if you believe that your co-parent is taking their anger at you out on the kids or has developed a serious drinking problem, you won’t have to be the one to bring up these issues in court alone. That can help you avoid allegations that your accusations are unfounded or simply designed to damage your children’s relationship with their other parent.

It can be horrifying to think that your children aren’t safe when they’re not with you – and worse to feel like you don’t have any way to protect them. A guardian ad litem can help make sure that your child’s best interests are always kept at the forefront of the court’s decisions.