Parents who are considering giving up or facing the possibility of losing their parental rights are undoubtedly in a painful, difficult position. Parents are typically expected to be the best advocates and caretakers for their kids, but the reality in some situations is that a child's parents may not be the people best suited for this role.
Under these circumstances, a guardian ad litem may be appointed. A person in this role will have a number of obligations.
As noted by Florida statues, a guardian ad litem will be responsible for looking out for a child's best interests and act accordingly. More specifically, the guardian ad litem can:
- Investigate claims made by the child, including abuse by parents
- Request an examination of a child by a doctor, dentist or psychologist
- Interview a child in order to understand his or her wishes and concerns
- Access a child's medical records
- Attend and participate in all legal proceedings involving the child
- Make recommendations for what will be in the best interests of the child
These are incredible responsibilities that would otherwise be shouldered by a child's parent, but if a parent is unwilling or unable to fulfill these obligations, someone else will take them over.
Any person with concerns about a parent acting as a child's legal advocate will want to discuss these concerns with an attorney. Whether you are the parent relinquishing your rights or someone who is worried about a child's welfare, you will want to be sure you understand your options and your rights. You will also want to be sure that you are acting in the best interests of a child.
Discussing this difficult situation and the complex legal stakes with an attorney who is experienced in non-parent custody cases can be crucial.