Custody matters between parents can be very contentious. Sometimes, the parents cannot communicate without fighting, nor can they effectively co-parent their children. This can do the child a great disservice, as they are caught in the middle of a heated situation and sometimes their child’s best interests are left to the wayside. In very serious situations, the court may find it necessary to appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the child’s best interest.
What is a Guardian Ad Litem?
A guardian ad litem is a person appointed by the court to represent the best interest of a minor child. Commonly, attorneys take on the role as a guardian ad litem. These attorneys are legally responsible for the well-being of the child to whom they are appointed. In the instance of a contested custody or extremely contentious divorces, the guardian ad litem should act on behalf of the court for the benefit of the child they are representing and serving. The guardian ad litem should serve as a fact-finder and investigator when determining the best interest of the child.
What is a Lay Guardian?
While it is common for an attorney to be appointed as a guardian ad litem for a minor child, there are instances where another individual may resume the responsibility of a guardian to a child. These instances are most common in a private custody or visitation case. These individuals are known as lay guardians. Their role is the same as a guardian ad litem, as they have to act on behalf of the child and their best interests. However, lay guardians do not have legal backgrounds and are usually in the field of social work or child counseling.
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The law firm of Mattleman, Weinroth & Miller, P.C., is composed of experienced attorneys throughout the states of New Jersey and Delaware. Please contact the office for a free initial consultation and get any questions answered regarding your specific case.