The Importance of a Guardian Ad Litem in a Dissolution Case
To start, it is important to understand the terms referenced in the title, “The Importance of a Guardian Ad-Litem in a Dissolution Case.”
Guardian Ad Litem Is a trained person whom a court may appoint to look into solutions that are in the best interest of the child. In Florida, the motto of Family Court is “in the best interest of the child,” which basically means, after determining the needs of the minor child, to put the needs of the minor child first before the needs of the parents. To quote from Google: “ Best interest determinations are generally made by considering several factors related to the child’s circumstances and the parent or caregiver’s circumstances and capacity to parent, with the child’s ultimate safety and well-being the paramount concern.”
A guardian ad litem does not make decisions such as medical, living arrangements, or educational, regarding the minor child but rather investigates how the child is doing at home, in school, physically, and mentally. Parents and teachers will be talked with, and a home visit will be conducted to see how the child reacts in his or her home environment. Sometimes physicians, and mental health workers will also be interviewed on the child’s behalf. The guardian ad litem will make recommendations based on the results of the investigation. A detailed report will be written and given to the judge handling the case. Information contained is third party and hopefully unbiased, which will help the judge decide how to best rule in determining the care and nurturing of the minor child in question.
Dissolution in this reference refers to the dissolution or dissolving of a marriage. Long referred to as a “divorce,” the more up-to-date term for ending a marriage is a dissolution of marriage. Frequently there are minor children (minor children are children from birth to age l8 or beyond if physically or mentally unable to care for themselves) involved, and when a couple cannot decide in a sensible way how to care and nurture their children following the dissolution. In terms of shared parenting, a judge will need to intervene and make those decisions for the minor children. Shared parenting in Florida means parental timesharing and a parenting plan. Parental timesharing gives each parent as equal as possible time with their minor child and includes overnights. All major decisions regarding medical, educational, religious, and discipline for the minor child are to be made by both parents together. Additionally, there is to be a parenting plan to address such issues as who gets the child on holidays and the child’s birthday, how will the child be exchanged from one parent to the other, and how will communication between parents and parents and child take place?
As can be seen, the input of a guardian ad litem is a valuable tool to help a judge decide what will be in the best interests of a minor child following the dissolution of marriage. For those living in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Miami-Dade, Broward, Orange, or Hillsborough County is Florida or New York or Washington DC Family Law attorney Grant Gisondo can answer your questions about minor children and dissolution of marriage. He offers a free, initial, in-office consultation to help you understand dissolution. You can call his Palm Beach Garden office at (561) 530-4568 to make an appointment. His office hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM and for new clients from 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM on Saturdays.