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How Do Child Representatives Influence an Illinois Divorce Case?

 Posted on May 31, 2023 in Family Law

Chicago Family Law AttorneyDivorce cases involving children can often become contentious. The parents may have vastly different ideas about what is best for their children and how custody arrangements should be handled. In some divorce cases, parents make allegations of neglect or abuse against each other, further complicating the matter.

Illinois judges want to ensure that parental responsibilities and parenting time arrangements are established based on what is in the child's best interests. In order to do this, a child representative may be assigned to a divorce or family law case.

What is a Child Representative in Illinois?

Child representatives are attorneys appointed to represent a child in a legal case. Just as an attorney would have an attorney-client relationship with an adult, a child representative has an attorney-client relationship with the child and represents the child during the legal proceeding.

What is the Difference Between a Child Representative and Guardian Ad Litem?

Child representatives are similar to guardians ad litem (GALs), but a GAL does not have an attorney-client relationship with the child the way a child representative does. The GAL’s job is to gather facts about a case and submit a report to the court explaining his or her recommendations. The GAL may be called as a witness and can testify to the court regarding his or her professional opinion. The child representative does not act as a witness or provide an opinion to the court.

How Can a Child Representative Influence Child Custody?

A child representative’s job is to advocate for the child’s best interests throughout the case. In order to do this, the representative will meet with the child to gain his or her thoughts and opinions, interview the parents, and investigate the facts of the case. A child representative also has the authority to issue discovery requests, file motions, and participate in litigation just as an attorney for an adult would.

What Should I Do If a Child Representative Was Assigned to My Case?

If a child representative was assigned to your divorce or child custody case, you may have many questions and concerns. This is normal. It can be uncomfortable to know that a stranger is investigating your family. However, it is important to keep in mind that the child representative’s job is to advocate on behalf of your child's best interests and promote a favorable outcome for your child.

That being said, it is a good idea to retain your own attorney if a child representative has been assigned to your case. An experienced family law attorney can help you understand your rights and options and will provide valuable legal guidance throughout the case.

Contact our Cook County Divorce Lawyer For Help

If you are getting divorced and you share children with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, or you are in the midst of a child custody dispute, our skilled Chicago family law attorneys can help. Call The Law Office of George J. Skuros at 312-884-1222 to set up an initial confidential consultation to learn more.

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