I recently had a conversation with a guardian ad litem that I thought was worth sharing. For those of you that don't know, in any case where custody or visitation are in dispute, the court will appoint a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) and charge them with conducting an investigation and reporting back to the court regarding a whole variety of issues that the court believes are necessary to know more about in order to make a determination about what is in the best interest of the party's child(ren).
In this particular case, the parents are not in agreement regarding custody and visitation and the court appointed a Guardian ad Litem who has begun their investigation. One of the major issues in this particular case is the church that my client attends. The father has raised concerns about how often the children attend and how much time the children are generally spending at the church, alleging that church interferes with their school, extracurriculars, social life, etc.
The Guardian ad Litem, investigating the father's concerns, requested a lot of information from the mother regarding the church and has reached out to other members of the congregation and the church leadership to ask them questions. The mother, taking offense to some of that and also out of of a privacy concern (not wanting to involve the other members of her congregation in her divorce) has pushed back on the Guardian ad Litem. This has only led to more red flags and raised more cause for concern for the Guardian ad Litem.
The number one thing that we, as family court litigants, can do when working with a Guardian ad Litem is to provide them with all of the information they request. We should never attempt to hide the ball or be deceptive in any way. Doing so will only raise more concerns for the Guardian ad Litem and inevitably lead to them pushing even harder for the information they want. Ultimately, the Guardian ad Litem is going to obtain the information the feel is important to their investigation, and so it's best to provide it in an upfront and honest way. Any sort of deceptive behavior is likely to to impact your credibility with the court and with the Guardian ad Litem which could prove detrimental to your case.
You can rest assured that if the Guardian ad Litem has concerns about your credibility, then that concern be reflected in their report submitted to the court which the judge will rely on in making the final determination about custody and visitation.
In conclusion, if the Guardian ad Litem is requesting information from you, provide that information and provide it as quickly as you can, making sure that it is accurate and truthful. You do not want to find yourself in a situation where the Guardian ad Litem does not believe that you are credible or they believe that you are trying to hide information.
If you have concerns about what the Guardian ad Litem is requesting, then it is best to let your attorney know, so that they can get immediately address the issue with the Guardian ad Litem, again, in an honest way. Failure to do so will only lead increased concern from the Guardian ad Litem because the allegations raised by the other side are not dealt with or responded to an prompt and accurate way.