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

630-409-8184

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

Yorkville Office By Appointment

Child Representative in Illinois Divorce Proceedings

Posted on in Child Custody

custodyDivorce is not a walk in the park--some divorce cases can become extremely nasty pretty quickly. Unfortunately, in cases where there is a lot of fighting between spouses, the children often get lost in the shuffle. The parents are so preoccupied with fighting with each other that the best interests of their children often get pushed to the bottom of the pile, even if it is unintentional. Illinois courts recognize that divorce can wreak havoc on the emotions of those going through the divorce process, so they have put measures into place to make sure that the best interests of the children involved in these divorce proceedings are kept at the forefront.

When Is a Child Representative Used?

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act states that any proceeding that deals with issues of support, visitation, custody, allocation of parental responsibilities, education, parentage, property interest or general welfare of a dependent child warrants a reason for the court to appoint a representative of some kind for the child involved in the hearing. There are three types of representation that is recognized in Illinois:

  • Attorney for the child;
  • Guardian ad litem; and
  • Child representative.

Attorney for the Child

In some cases, the courts may appoint an attorney to represent the child in the same way that attorneys are representing the parents in the proceedings. The attorney is responsible for providing independent legal advice to the child with the same loyalty, confidentiality and representation that an adult would receive.

Guardian Ad Litem

A guardian ad litem (GAL) is similar to an attorney for the child, except the GAL is responsible for testifying or submitting a written report on his or her recommendations regarding the best interest of the child. In order for a GAL to determine the best interest of the child, the GAL is required to investigates the facts of the case and interview the child and both of the parents involved in the case. The GAL can also be called as a witness regarding the report on the child’s best interests.

Child Representative

Similar to a GAL, a child representative will investigate the case and all aspects of it to advocate for what is in the child’s best interest. The child representative will encourage the use of alternative dispute resolutions and will consider the child’s wishes when it comes to his or her best interest. A child representative can not be just anyone--they must be trained in child advocacy or posses appropriate experience to be one. The child representative will not make a report or recommendation on what his or her opinion is, but can offer evidence-based legal arguments.

Contact an Aurora Family Law Attorney

Though the majority of divorcing couples do not mean to put their child’s best interests to the background, sometimes it is a side effect of an emotional and stressful marriage. In cases like these, you may request or will be told to get a guardian ad litem or representative for your child. A skilled and experienced DuPage County family law lawyer can help you advocate for your child’s best interest. Contact the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. to begin discussing your case. To set up a consultation, call 630-409-8184.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=2086&ChapterID=59

http://www.cookcountycourt.org/ABOUTTHECOURT/CountyDepartment/DomesticRelationsDivision/ChildRepGuardianAdLitemGAL.aspx

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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