Can I Disagree With the Guardian Ad Litem’s Report?

If you find yourself in the circumstance that a judge appointed a guardian ad litem to your child custody case, you may feel overwhelmed and frustrated with the process. You may have not had a good experience in the interview process with the guardian ad litem, or your children may have been particularly disruptive during the process. As a result, perhaps the guardian ad litem’s final report is not beneficial to having you receive as much child custody time as you would wish. You have the option of disagreeing with the guardian ad litem report and providing your own recommendations. Learn more about how you have the legal right to disagree with a guardian ad litem report below.

How do I Disagree With a Guardian Ad Litem Report?

You have time immediately following receipt of the report in order to make a disagreement. If you have serious or strong objections to the recommendations made by the guardian ad litem, you may want to consider the following steps:

  • Take time to really read the report. While you may find some answers in the report unflattering, really consider whether or not they are true. Have others read the report as well to get independent confirmation of your beliefs regarding the unfairness or lack of truth in the report.
  • Take copious notes on the report and make sure to highlight every area where a guardian ad litem may have left an important interview out, or failed to include important information.
  • Always request the complete file from the guardian ad litem. You have a right under the law to see their file, but you may have to serve an official “discovery request” with the court in order to do so.
  • Request an additional meeting with the guardian ad litem in order to clarify some of the mischaracterized evidence or interviews in the report.
  • Never personally attack the guardian ad litem. They may have made a simple mistake or oversight, or simply did not have all of the correct information. At the end of the day, they are simply trying to do their job and ensure that the child’s best interests remain protected.
  • However, if you strongly feel that the guardian ad litem made prejudicial decisions based on the fact that you do not speak English as your first language, or that your race, culture, ethnicity or background was taken into account negatively as part of his or her decision making process, then you should take the time to write that down to present before the judge.
  • Make sure that all appropriate parties that have constant or common interaction with your child were interviewed. If you discover that certain important parties were not interviewed, you have the right to request that any counselors, teachers, coaches, professionals, or advocates that have interaction with your child submit declarations to the court, or testify at trial.
  • Any conclusions made by a guardian ad litem regarding your child’s mental or physical health (or your mental or physical health) that is untrue should be directly addressed. If you have the time to do so, seek out an independent psychological or physical evaluation of you or your child to present to the court.
  • Always remember that the court will look to see what is truly in the best interest of the child. Any rebuttal or response you make to the determinations of a guardian ad litem should reflect that you are attempting to truly find the answer regarding custody matters with respect to what is in the best interest of your child.
May I Respond to the Guardian Ad Litem?

If you make the decision to file a response to the recommendation and determinations made by the guardian ad litem submitted to the court, you must file your own Declaration with additional evidence and documentation regarding what is in the best interest of the child. Every court has a different policy and procedure regarding how these responses should be delivered and presented to the court. Make sure that you visit with a qualified and experienced divorce attorney in order to ensure that your legal rights remain protected.

Contact an Experienced Divorce Attorney

Many divorces include the appointment of a guardian ad litem. If you make the decision to have legal counsel during this process, you can ensure your legal rights remain protected concerning your children and your financial interests. Contact an experienced divorce lawyer at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Charlotte, Monroe and Mooresville North Carolina at 704.370.2828 or online today to schedule your consultation.