If the court appointed a child representative to your case, it means that the court feels it is in your child’s best interest for a neutral party to determine the most productive choices for his or her custody, support, and visitation following your divorce.
A child representative’s duties are outlined in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. The representative is an attorney appointed by the court when it feels that the child’s interests are not being fully served by the parents or their attorneys. Whether a child representative is appointed to a divorce or other child-related case is completely at the judge’s discretion.
The Difference Between a Child Representative and a Guardian ad Litem
Both a child representative and a Guardian ad Litem interview the child’s parents and examine their homes to determine each household’s suitability for the child. A Guardian ad Litem then submits a written report to the court to aid in the court’s determination of appropriate custody and support arrangements for the child. A child representative does not submit a report. Instead, he or she discusses his or her findings with the child’s parents through a pre-trial memorandum to explain what he or she would advocate for in the event the case goes to court.
A child representative is not a child’s lawyer. In some rare cases, an attorney may be hired on a child’s behalf to represent the child in court and pursue his or her interests, as determined by the child. A child representative does not do this. Instead, he or she records and interprets the child’s circumstances to aid in the development of productive, nurturing agreements for his or her care.
If a Child Representatve is Appointed for Your Child
Do not panic. There is no need to feel threatened by the child representative’s presence – his or her job is to be an advocate for your child and make sure that your child’s needs are met following your divorce.
Cooperate with the child representative and if he or she asks you any questions about your lifestyle or home life, answer truthfully and completely. If you are found to be lying about your lifestyle or concealing any facts in an attempt to alter the representative’s perception of your fitness to parent, it may adversely affect your child custody and support cases. Do not attempt to persuade the child representative into siding with you or badmouth your former partner in any way – this, too, can only backfire on you and your case.
Chicago Family Attorneys
The divorce process can be frustrating. You might feel lost or powerless but remember, we are here to guide you through your divorce by providing legal advice and representation. Contact our office today to your free consultation with a skilled Orland Park family attorneys. We can answer any questions you have about divorce, child support, and child custody while acting as advocates for you and your child.