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What is the Role of a Child Representative in a Divorce Case?

Posted on in Divorce

dupage county divorce lawyerIllinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act 750 Illinois Compiled Statute (ILCS) § 5/602.5(a) establishes that courts must allocate decision-making responsibilities according to a child's best interests. Courts may need the assistance of a third party in determining what is in a child’s best interests. A child representative may be appointed in cases in which parties are disputing parenting time, custody, visitation, education, property interest, or general welfare of a child. 

Types of Child Representatives

The three types of people courts can select to represent a child or children are a child’s attorney, a guardian ad litem, and a child’s representative.  

  • Attorney for a Child - A judge may appoint an attorney for an older child when an attorney will need to act in the manner that the child wants. A child’s attorney not only acts in a child’s best interests, but will also present their arguments in court.  State law provides that a child attorney must provide independent legal counsel for a child and owe the same duties of undivided loyalty, confidentiality, and competent representation that are due to an adult client. An attorney must keep what is said between a child and them private.
  • Guardian At Litem - A guardian ad litem (GAL) represents a child’s best interests and may or may not be what a child wants. A GAL is appointed to conduct investigations, as they may be used in disputes asking whether it is safe for a child to live with a parent. A court could ask a GAL to do a home visit or multiple home visits and report back to the court as to what happened.  A GAL will go to the parents' home, observe how parents behave with a child or children, talk to parents and children separately, and deliver a written report to the Court or testify as a witness. 
  • Child’s Representative - A Child Representative acts similarly to a GAL in that they often have the same authority, but they will not testify in court. Special training and qualifications are usually required to serve as a child representative, and child representatives make recommendations to courts without delivering reports.

Contact a Naperville, IL Family Law Attorney Today

If you are dealing with child-related disagreements in your divorce, we are here to help. A DuPage County family law attorney at Calabrese Associates, P.C. can help you get the answers you need. Call 630-393-3111 for a confidential consultation.

 

Source: 

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/075000050K506.htm

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