The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.

630-409-8184

1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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Child Custody Disputes in DuPage and Kane Counties

Posted on in Child Custody

kane county divorce lawyerChild custody battles can be contentious, acrimonious, traumatic, and costly. A reliable child custody attorney can help with dispute resolution to facilitate an amicable outcome. However, when dispute resolution, like mediation, fails, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL), a child representative, or a custody evaluator to help determine what is in the child's best interests. These investigations can be intrusive, nerve-racking, and embarrassing, making some feel unfairly judged. A child custody attorney skilled in collaborative law can also help you prepare for the evaluations of court-appointed, third-party investigators. 

What is a Guardian Ad Litem, a Child Representative, and a Custody Evaluator?

Guardian ad litem (GAL) -- GALs, who are certified and trained through the Department of Children and Family Services, advocate and protect a child's best interest during custody battles. Working on behalf of a child, a GAL is typically court-appointed and can serve as a witness. After a thorough investigation, GALs provide recommendations to the judge. A GAL's fees are billed to the child's parents or guardians.

Child representative – As an attorney for the child and trained in child advocacy, a child representative is bound by attorney-client privilege and cannot be called as a witness. A child representative, like a GAL, advocates for the best interest of the child and serves as the child’s voice. After evaluating the case and interviewing the child, a child representative can file motions regarding parental responsibilities. The child’s parents or guardians also pay the child representative's legal fees.

Custody evaluator - As a psychologist or a psychiatrist, a custody evaluator's investigations are more extensive and comprehensive than that of a GAL. A custody evaluation entails interviewing both the parents and the child, who are subject to psychological testing, and assessing the home environment. With the authority to interview the child's teachers, family friends, and religious leaders, a custody evaluator can also review the child's report cards and the parent's financial and court records. Extended visits to the family home also enable the custody evaluator to gauge the child's home life. After the evaluation, the custody evaluator drafts a formal recommendation to the court. Parents or guardians are also billed for this evaluation.

How to Prepare for Investigations in Acrimonious Custody Battles 

An attorney qualified in dispute resolution and child custody can help you prepare and strategize for inquisitions and final recommendations of guardian ad litem and custody evaluators. Preparation could include but is not limited to the following. 

  • Understand your financial and legal documents and how they may be scrutinized. Plan and compose answers to any detrimental information. 

  • Recognize teachers, family friends, religious leaders, and doctors who may be interviewed, and anticipate how they may describe your parenting skills.

  • Forecast likely questions to you and your ex-spouse and prepare answers.

  • Decipher how your child will describe their home life and your parenting skills.

  • Always remain cooperative, transparent, and a willing participant throughout the investigation. 

Contact a Child Custody Lawyer in DuPage and Kane Counties

At The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C., skilled and trustworthy divorce attorney Matthew M. Williams is certified and trained in both collaborative and cooperative law. As a former advocate for abused and neglected children, Matthew M. Williams understands the complexities of child custody issues and is sensitive to the needs of his clients. With experience from handling numerous child custody cases, Matthew M. Williams aggressively and strategically advocates for fair and harmonious solutions. If you are seeking child custody, contact a St. Charles divorce attorney at 630-409-8184.

  

Sources:

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=075000050K506

https://www.cookcountycourt.org/ABOUT-THE-COURT/County-Department/Domestic-Relations-Division/Child-Rep-Guardian-Ad-Litem-GAL?msclkid=

 

The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.

630-409-8184

1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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