Guardian Ad Litem
Family law matters involving children can be some of the most emotional, contentious and hardest fought issues in family law. In the midst of such proceedings, it is sometimes easy to lose sight of what is in the best interests of the children at the center of the dispute. To help ensure that the bests interests of the child are always represented in a parenting or child-related dispute, the court may appoint a representative specifically for the purpose of looking after the child’s interests. This person is either a Guardian Ad Litem or an Attorney for a Minor Child, depending upon the particular needs involved. The family law attorneys at The Upton Law Firm are available to serve in these capacities to help in the practical and effective resolution of Connecticut child custody, visitation and other parenting or child-related matters.
What does a Guardian Ad Litem do?
The Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) may engage in a number of activities to help the judge better understand the child’s needs. The GAL may investigate the facts in the case, reviewing files and records, and interviewing the parents and the child as needed. The GAL may also talk to teachers, coaches, doctors or therapists. The GAL may participate in court hearings by testifying as a witness or otherwise making recommendations to the court. The GAL does not make any actual decisions for the court, but may encourage the parties in the settlement of their dispute.
Any person who has completed the required training may serve as a GAL. A GAL may be appointed if one of the parties requests it (and is successful on the motion), or the judge may decide for him or herself that a GAL is needed and appoint one even if it has not been requested.
Attorney for a Minor Child
Another person who may be appointed to help in a parenting or child-related dispute is an Attorney for a Minor Child, or AMC. While a GAL looks out for a child’s best interests, an AMC not only support the child’s best interests but also represents the child’s legal interests as well. Only a licensed attorney may serve as an AMC, and the attorney must also have completed the required training.
An AMC is the child’s attorney, and advocates on the child’s behalf and represents the child’s wishes. In essence, the child is the attorney’s client, representing the child in matters regarding custody, support, visitation, educational decisions, and other aspects of a child’s care and welfare. An AMC does not testify as a witness, but participates fully as a lawyer in the proceedings. For instance, the AMC may file motions and call witnesses.
Compassionate, Dedicated and Experienced Assistance in Connecticut Child Custody and Family Law
Attorney Lisa J. Mainolfi of The Upton Law Firm is trained, experienced and available to serve as Guardian Ad Litem or Attorney for a Minor Child in the New Haven Judicial District. If you are involved in a child custody dispute, post-divorce modification or other Connecticut family law matter, contact The Upton Law Firm for assistance, in West Hartford at 860-893-0558 or in Milford at 203-877-4141.