The parent can certainly help the Guardian Ad Litem by assembling any information they request and submitting it on a timely basis. If there’s a medical issue that’s been raised regarding one of the children, then at that initial meeting with the GAL, that parent should bring a copy of the child’s file from the treating physician or pediatrician. If one of the parents is unable to get the kids to school on time, then the parent who’s made that observation should obtain a copy of the child’s file from the school which will include attendance and tardiness records.
If the child has special needs or receives special services from the school, bring along a copy of the most recent IEP report to that initial meeting with the GAL. Those documents are going to be required at some point, you might as well assist the GAL by having them upfront. It helps to organize your explanation to the GAL of what you think the issues are, and is going to be looked upon favourably by the person that’s been appointed.
When I initially meet with the children I’m appointed to assist. I’ll typically explain to the kids that Mom and Dad have been unable to figure out what makes the most sense for the kids. As a result the judge has asked me to meet with them and try to be of some assistance in terms of making some recommendations as to how Mom and Dad might most effectively parent them in the future.
Most kids are really happy to hear there’s somebody not in the middle of the fight who’s looking out for them. They benefit from the assurance that by having a GAL they aren’t going to have to go to court and pick a side, or testify against Mom or Dad. It really gives the kid some comfort.
Chuck Roberts is family lawyer at Momkus McCluskey Roberts, LLC, one of the largest law firms in DuPage County, Illinois.