Guardian Ad Litem and Child Abuse
A Guardian Ad Litem is a lawyer appointed by the court to represent a child or children. The Guardian Ad Litem does not represent the parents. The court is required to appoint a Guardian Ad Litem in child custody cases where allegations of child abuse have been made. Child abuse can include emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. There are many different types of neglect, including, but not limited to, medical neglect, nutritional neglect, and simply failing to care for a child. A Guardian Ad Litem can be appointed in a variety of cases including child custody, divorce, paternity, guardianship, and juvenile cases.
Where allegations of child abuse or neglect have been made, the job of the Guardian Ad Litem is to investigate those allegations. The investigation can involve speaking with the child or children, speaking with the parents, teachers, doctors, and any other person who may have knowledge about the alleged abuse or neglect of the child. A Guardian Ad Litem may obtain records. In many cases, the Guardian Ad Litem will report to the court about his or her investigation. The Guardian Ad Litem may report about the wishes of the child and what the Guardian Ad Litem believes to be in the best interest of a child.
The Guardian Ad Litem does not represent the parents. Anything that parents tell a Guardian Ad Litem can be shared with the other parent and his or her lawyer. The Guardian Ad Litem can also share with the court. The Guardian Ad Litem has no duty to maintain the confidentiality of any information provided by the parents. The Guardian Ad Litem is not an advocate for the parents. Consequently, a parent will want his or her own attorney whether the case involves child custody, divorce, paternity, guardianship, and juvenile cases.
For more information, contact Scott Hamblin. Scott Hamblin is an experienced trial attorney having tried numerous cases involving allegations of child abuse and neglect.