Who is protecting the best interest of the child in a divorce? During a divorce, it is not uncommon for one or both parties to be so caught up in their own struggles and battles against one another, that the interests of their children loses priority. One or both parents may not be able to judge what is best for their children when they are in conflict themselves. This is where a GAL becomes involved.
A GAL, or guardian ad litem, is specifically responsible for protecting the interests of a minor child. They do not work for either party, giving them neutral ground to make a fair judgment of what will be the best outcome for children involved. They can make recommendations to the court on issues related to custody, parenting time, visitation, or any other contested matter.
In general, the court will appoint a GAL. Ohio Revised Code 2151.281(B)(2)(b): The court shall appoint a guardian ad litem to protect the interest of a child in any preceding concerning an alleged dependent child if there is conflict of interest between the child and the child’s parents, guardian, or custodian.
GALs are advocates for minor children, just as an attorney advocates for whoever retains them. The GAL will speak with both parties, the children, and anyone else who may have ideas into what will be best for the children after the divorce is final. The GAL will then make a report/recommendation to the court as to what they feel would be best for the children. While the report does not determine the outcome of the case, the court will strongly consider what the GAL recommends.
Amongst the struggles and battles you may be dealing with regarding your divorce, you need to keep in mind what is in the best interest of the children. Requesting a guardian ad litem, through the help of your attorney, may help when your spouse is not acting in the best interest of the children.