Often times in divorce or dependency proceedings, the Court will appoint a Guardian Ad Litem for a minor child(ren). The Guardian’s role is to investigate and represent the best interest of the child(ren).
Best interest includes the following: preservation of the child’s physical safety and emotional well-being, placement in an nurturing home / environment that will foster the child’s healthy growth, development and education, and protection from any harm which may be result from the child’s involvement in legal or child welfare systems.
Parents will encounter concerns related to their child(ren) which they may want an objective party to explore and/or document, so that the interest of the minor child is represented to the court directly. Often times issues involving time-sharing, parent-child access or contact, relocation, and/or decision making on child related issues; become the primary focus in which the family court will need to render decisions in the interest of the child(ren).
The appointment of a Guardian Ad Litem is a unique position geared toward investigating and reporting relevant observations; information collected, and ultimately rending recommendations to the Court on behalf of the minor child(ren).
Often times Guardian Ad Litems are attorneys by profession; but emerging emphasis is now being placed on having mental health professionals serve as Guardians; especially as matters related to emotional well being and functioning of the parties (adults and children) are often times the primary focus. Mental health professionals have specialized training in interviewing individuals of all ages, and have acquired a set of clinical skills which adapt well the understanding of family dynamics and child developmental needs.
At Therapeutic Horizons, the mental health professionals have been appointed to serve as Guardian Ad Litem in family matters in over sixty cases to date (2011). We recognize the often serious and complex issues presented in family matters, and take on the role of Guardian Ad Litem with great respect and responsibility.