Who can talk to the GAL in my custody case?

In highly custody child custody and parenting cases the court has the authority to appoint a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) for teh child(ren).  The GAL is tasked with assessing the respective positions of the parents and advise the court as to the child’s best interests as a neutral third party.

As neutrality is key, detailing who may communicate with the GAL and how they may communicate is important.  With court appointed experts it can be unclear.  In the matter of Reitz v. Reitz the prolific opion author, the Honorable Judge Lawrence Jones, offered guidance and guidelines in an attempt to maintain the integrity of the process.

In his decision he established the following protocol: (1) when appointing a GAL the court may establish reasonable parameters in advance dealing with communications with and document submissions to the GAL whether such overtures are to be made by counsel or the litigants themselves, (2) judicially created parameters need to be reasonable but not unduly restrictive.  Any “rules” that would impair the timely sharing of time-sensitive information or impede the GAL in fulfilling his or her responsibilities.

About Sandy Durst

Sandy Durst, Esq., is the founding partner of The Durst Firm where he heads the Family Law Department. Individuals facing a divorce benefit from the combination of legal skill, common sense and compassion that Sandy brings to each and every matter. Each case is given the personalized attention it deserves.

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