Divorce is extremely emotional, and it’s understandable when parents get caught up in their own personal struggles and aren’t exactly sure of how to proceed in a constructive way. While there are methods of dispute resolution that can minimize spousal friction, conflict between divorcing spouses is still a reality.
Another reality is that the needs and concerns of the children are too often overlooked in the midst of parental conflict and courtroom proceedings. When their parents can no longer live together, children need advocates more than anyone else, and sometimes it is necessary for the court to appoint a guardian to ensure that the best interests of the child are not forgotten during the legal process.
In Florida, a court-appointed advocate for a child in divorce proceedings is called a guardian ad litem. This person can interview the child and other people in the child’s life to come to an understanding of how the court might recognize and protect the child’s interests.
A guardian ad litem may also be asked to make recommendations regarding parenting plans, supervision, time sharing, special needs parenting, and relocation. These kinds of recommendations can be made by a guardian ad litem in divorce proceedings, paternity hearings and child custody modification cases.
Attorney Kelley A. Joseph has been certified to serve as a guardian ad litem since 1998, and she has been appointed to be guardian ad litem by Florida courts more than 30 times. Attorney Joseph is also a trained parent coordinator.
If you have concerns about protecting your own child’s best interests, consider speaking with a lawyer with experience in advocating specifically on behalf of children.