Child’s Representative/Guardian Ad Litem (GAL)

When divorcing parents are unable to agree on child custody and visitation issues, the court will appoint an attorney to represent the interests of the children. The court may appoint a child’s representative or Guardian Ad Litem (GAL). Kristie C. Fingerhut, a Libertyville Child Representative Attorney, has experience as both a child representative and a GAL.

The Law Office of Kristie C. Fingerhut acts in the best interest of the children

  • The role of a child representative: The child representative is charged with being an advocate for what the representative has deemed will be in the best interest of the children. The wishes of the children may be a consideration, but the representative is not duty-bound to follow them. The representative gathers all the facts and interviews witnesses. The representative presents evidence to the court and can cross-examine witnesses. No written report is provided to the court because the representative is not a witness but an advocate for what the representative has determined is in the best interest of the child.
  • The role of a GAL: The court appoints a GAL who is charged with investigating all the facts of the case. The GAL interviews the children and the parents. Based on the evidence accumulated, the GAL presents a written or oral report to the court including the GAL’s opinion as to what is in the best interest of the child. The GAL is a witness and may be called to testify in the child custody proceeding.

The Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) has guidelines for representatives and GALS to follow. Those guidelines emphasize that a representative or GAL is to be neutral and base the investigation on specific facts unique to each situation. The relationship between the representative or GAL and the parents is not adversarial and the representative or GAL is to act only in the best interest of the child. The long-term goal is for the parents to work together in achieving the best interest of the child or children.

Attorney Kristie C. Fingerhut has experience as a Libertyville Child Representative Attorney and GAL

Attorney Fingerhut has experience as a child representative as well as a GAL. She knows what investigation needs to be done in order to form an opinion as to what is in the best interest of the children. She may interview both parents and the children and any step-parents that may be involved. She may ask parents to sign releases so she can obtain school records and speak to school teachers or counselors.

She understands the importance of focusing on the best interest of the children. She takes her role as child representative or GAL seriously and is committed to contributing to the best possible outcome.

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