CHILD ADVOCACY

Guardian ad Litem

Child Representative Illinois

 

When do Court's appoint lawyers to represent children​?

 

Unfortunately, some family law cases involve child abuse, addiction, mental health issues and high conflict situations.  Parents often have very different perspectives on what is in the best interests of their children. 

 

In cases where these issues exist and custody, visitation, the allocation or parental responsibilities and the welfare of the children are at issue, the Court may - on it's own motion - or on the motion of either party and pursuant to statute 750 ILCS 5/506 appoint a lawyer to serve on behalf of the children in one of three capacities:

  • Guardian Ad Litem

  • Child Representative

  • Attorney for the Child

The roles of these attorneys is in some cases similar but in others very different.  Which type of attorney is assigned to your case will depend upon the judge ultimately, after taking into consideration your children's ages and the specifics of your family. 

Illinois Guardian ad Litem or GAL

The Guardian ad Litem acts as an investigator - generally referred to as "the eyes and ears of the court."  The Guardian ad Litem conducts interviews, sometimes makes home or school visits, may speak with healthcare professionals and ultimately makes recommendations which he/she believes are in the best interests of the child in the form of a report.  The Guardian ad Litem may be called as a witness at hearings or the trial of the case, but is not permitted to file motions or question witnesses.

Child Representative 

​The Child Representative has the same powers of investigation as the Guardian ad Litem however the Child Representative is an advocate for what he/she believes to be in the child's best interests.  This means that the Child Representative will not testify as the Guardian ad Litem does, but he/she has the same power as the parents' attorneys - he/she can issue discovery, take depositions and call/question witnesses at hearings and trial.  The Child Representative is bound by an attorneys' code of ethics in that conversations between the child and the Child Representative are confidential.

Attorney for the Child

​The Attorney for the Child is a rarity - not often appointed in litigation.  Unlike the Child Representative - who uses his/her own judgment to advocate for the best interests of the child, the Attorney for the Child takes direction from the child when advancing legal arguments - as if the child were an adult.

My child is represented - now what?

​Things to remember when an attorney has been appointed to represent your child:

  • be honest with the attorney

  • keep the attorney updated with important developments

  • be organized and concise 

  • follow direction

  • be responsive

  • ask questions (i.e. What should I bring to our meeting? How should I tell my son/daughter about your involvement? etc.)

  • use the attorney to help mediate a solution 

We Represent Children

The attorneys at Ciesla Beeler are often appointed in Cook and Lake Counties to represent children in contested litigation.  Our attorneys have been appointed on behalf of children in cases involving school refusal, learning disabilities (incl. 504 plans and IEPs), mental health issues, addiction, sexual abuse, physical abuse, parental alienation, estrangement, involvement by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), and high conflict families.

​Contact our Chicago Area Attorneys to Help you with your High Conflict Divorce

The Child Advocates at Ciesla Beeler have the experience and knowledge to help you with your high conflict family law case.  Our attorneys are recognized throughout Illinois and are ready to meet with you to assess your case and provide sound legal strategies to address your situation.  Contact us today via email info@cieslabeeler.com or call 847.868.1860 for your free consultation.

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