In Illinois there’s several roles which the judge can designate for someone acting on behalf of a child or children in divorce court. The court can appoint an attorney to provide independent legal counsel for the child and that type of appointment is actually rather rare. We don’t see that terribly often in divorce court.
In Cooke County the court will most likely appoint a child representative. That person will advocate for what the child’s representative finds to be in the best interest of the child after reviewing the facts and circumstances of the case. The child representative will generally have the same authority and obligation to participate in the litigation as would an attorney for a party, and has all the powers and investigative role as does a Guardian Ad Litem.
In Dupage County, the court will typically appoint a GAL as a court’s own witness. He or she will testify, or submit a written report to the guardian, his or her recommendations in accordance with what they found to be in the best interest of the child. The GAL can be called as a witness by either party or by the court. A GAL can be cross-examined again by the lawyer for either side or by the judge. The cross-examination can relate to either the report, or the recommendations that have been made by the GAL. The GAL is charged by law in investigating the facts of the case and is required to interview not only both of the parents, but the child as well.
Chuck Roberts is family lawyer at Momkus McCluskey Roberts, LLC, one of the largest law firms in DuPage County, Illinois.