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How Can a Guardian Ad Litem Affect a Wisconsin Child Custody Case?

 Posted on December 19, 2022 in Family Law

Brookfield Child Custody LawyerIn Wisconsin, a guardian ad litem (GAL) is an individual appointed by the court to advocate for the best interests of children in family law cases involving child custody or placement disputes. GALs are independent from both parties, and they make recommendations to the court based on their evaluation of what is in the best interests of the child. By understanding how a GAL may affect a child custody case, parents can make sure they take the correct steps to protect their rights while also preparing to provide for their children's needs going forward.

What Does a Guardian Ad Litem Do?

A GAL’s primary role is to investigate and evaluate matters concerning the welfare of minor children affected by family law cases, including those involving divorce, paternity, or custody of children when parents are unmarried. They will advocate for the best interests of the children involved in a case, and during their investigation, they may look at whether domestic abuse has occurred or whether there are any safety issues that affect children. They may also take a child's wishes into consideration.

The GAL will typically meet with all relevant parties involved in a case, including both parents and any other people who may have a significant influence on the child's well-being. They may also review documents related to the case and speak with other parties who have important information about the child’s situation, such as doctors, therapists, teachers, child care providers, or extended family members. Additionally, they may observe interactions between parents and their children during visitation or exchange times, and they may visit each parent’s home to determine if it is suitable for raising children.

Once they have collected all of their information, the GAL will submit a report to the court detailing their findings and making recommendations on what would be in the best interests of the child. It is important to note that while a judge will consider this report when making decisions regarding custody arrangements, he or she does not have to follow its recommendations.

How Can a GAL Affect Your Case?

A GAL may be appointed if issues related to child custody are contested or if a judge is concerned about the safety and well-being of children. The judge will take all reports submitted by the GAL into consideration when making decisions about custody or placement arrangements. A GAL may also be asked to comment on an agreement that parents have created through mediation or a proposed parenting plan filed by either parent. 

Since a guardian ad litem is considered to be an impartial third-party observer who has no emotional stakes in the outcome of your case, their opinion will often carry a great deal of weight. Because of this, it is crucial to cooperate with a GAL who has been appointed, answer their questions fully and honestly, provide them with all information requested, and demonstrate that you are willing to put the best interests of your children first as you and the other parent determine how you will work together to raise your children in the years to come.

Contact Our Waukesha Child Custody Attorneys

Ultimately, having a guardian ad litem appointed by the court during a child custody case can be beneficial, because the GAL will provide an unbiased assessment that takes into account all pertinent factors—including those that may otherwise go unnoticed by parents who are caught up in the strong emotions that can surround divorce or child custody proceedings. At Bucher, Wolff & Sonderhouse, LLP, our Menomonee Falls child custody lawyers can help you understand the best ways to protect your rights and interests when working with a GAL, and we will advocate on your behalf and help you achieve a positive outcome to your case. Call us at 262-232-6699 to arrange a free consultation today.



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