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Do You Have to Agree to a Guardian Ad Litem Appointment?


If you are going through a divorce, and you and your spouse can not agree on child custody, oftentimes, a court will make the decision to appoint a guardian ad litem. Contrary to what some people may believe, there never needs to be any kind of appearance of abuse by either parent for a guardian ad litem to be appointed. Rather, the court will typically make this appointment because the child custody arrangements simply can not be agreed upon by both spouses. If you find yourself in this scenario, you may be wondering if you have to agree to a guardian ad litem appointed by the court.

What is a Guardian Ad Litem?

A guardian ad litem is appointed by the court to legally represent a minor in a divorce regarding their best interests with respect to custody arrangements, and the child’s health and welfare. The guardian ad litem is essentially the child’s representative and will examine all situations to make the best determination regarding where the child should live, go to school, and what the custody arrangement should be according to their perspective. A guardian ad litem will oftentimes be appointed by the courts when the spouses have reached an impasse regarding child custody arrangements.

What are the Powers of a Guardian Ad Litem?

A guardian ad litem has broad investigative powers with respect to a child’s living conditions, relationships, and overall circumstances. They will typically visit with both spouses, visit both possible homes that the child may live in, visit with family members, close friends, teachers and staff at a school, or any other person or place that has a significant impact on the child’s life.

This may seem quite intrusive, and the truth is that it can feel invasive. Most parents do not relish the idea of a stranger making decisions about the best interest of their child. However, the guardian ad litem is intended to be a neutral third party. Their objective is not to vilify one side or the other, but to truly gain a perspective on the living conditions and emotional environments of the child.

The guardian ad litem will give a report regarding their recommendation to the court following their investigation, which the court will take into consideration, and both spouses can either agree or disagree with the conclusions reached.

Do You Have to Agree to a Guardian Ad Litem Appointment?

Yes and no. You must agree to allow a guardian ad litem to make their investigation and question all relevant parties without interference. While you should attempt to work with a guardian ad litem as a parent, for the best interest of the child, you do not have to agree to the first appointment which is made. If you believe the guardian ad litem is biased, or simply not acting in the best interest of your child, you may disqualify the first appointment, and request another guardian ad litem.

However, if you choose to reject any guardian ad litem after that, you must prove to the court you have significant reason to do so. Therefore, while you may reject a specific person to be your guardian ad litem, you are not allowed to reject the court’s decision to appoint one in your case and make an investigation to determine the best interests of your child and make a recommendation to the court.

Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney

If a guardian ad litem has been appointed in your divorce, contact the Fort Lauderdale family attorneys at the offices of Joyce A. Julian, P.A. at 954-467-6656 or visit us online to schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal rights.


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