Who is protecting the best interests of the children in the judicial system? Judges have limited time for each case, and limited view of the facts of each case and therefore often rely on guardian ad litems to prepare recommendations on what is in a child’s best interest. As a parent, requesting an appointment of a guardian ad litem can ensure that a full investigation will occur and the court will have a report of what is happening in the child’s life. In cases addressing “custody,” timesharing and parental responsibility, a judge may appoint a guardian ad litem pursuant to the request of either parent, a third party, or upon the Court’s own motion. The guardian ad litem acts act as a next friend of the court and performs the following duties:
- Conducts an independent investigation of the facts relevant to the child’s welfare;
- Assists the court in obtaining independent expert evaluations and recommendations, when appropriate;
- Presents facts to the court pertinent to the investigation and the best interest of the child; and
- Files a report with recommendations concerning the child’s best interest regarding custody and visitation arrangements, parental responsibility, educational, medical and financial needs and other concerns involving the welfare of the child.