Florida Guardian Ad Litem And Your Custody Case

Florida Guardian Ad Litem And Your Custody CaseA Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) is appointed by a Florida court to investigate and evaluate family disputes to help protect a child’s best interests. Florida GALs act on behalf of the child and are considered “next friend of the child.”

GALs serve a critical role in helping the court resolve contentious and high conflict family matters involving children. The GAL does not work on behalf of either party to the dispute and is a neutral party to the case with a singular goal of helping the Florida court determine the best interest of the child. A guardian ad litem is NOT a child’s ‘lawyer’ or ‘advocate’. In family law matters, other than dependency actions, a GAL is an experienced family law attorney.

A Guardian Ad Litem will conduct interviews with both parents usually at their home, directly interview the children subject to the case, request the Florida court to order independent evaluations by healthcare or mental health professionals and provide recommendations to the court.

In making their recommendations, the GAL uses the factors outlined in section 61.13, Florida Statutes to determine the best interest of the child. These factors include, but are not limited to,

  • The stability of the child and the need to maintain stability
  • The moral fitness of the parents.
  • The mental and physical health of the parents.
  • The home, school, and community record of the child
  • The reasonable preference of the child
  • The involvement of each parent in the day-to-day activities of the child
  • The developmental stages and needs of the child

Our family law attorneys are focused on efficiently and effectively preparing clients for the most difficult circumstances. The attorneys at HAWM law have experience dealing with an array of family law matters and can prepare the necessary and often unique strategy and tools that your family may require.

The GAL’s recommendation is highly considered by Florida judges as the GAL is able to go into the parties’ homes and interact with them and the children on a personal level several times over the course of the case. The GAL gives the court a view of the parties’ life the court would not otherwise have. The information gathered by a Florida GAL can be crucial to the outcome of the case. As such, parents should do their best to cooperate and communicate openly and truthfully with the GAL. The GAL is not an enemy.

If you are involved in a high conflict family law matter, our experienced Orlando family law attorney is able to help you navigate the court process and determine whether your Florida family law case requires a guardian ad litem.  Call us today to schedule a consultation.

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