In some family law cases involving children, the Ohio court will appoint a guardian ad litem. This person helps the family and the judge create a parenting plan that serves the child’s best interest.

If you are in the process of an Ohio divorce and you have children, familiarize yourself with the role of a guardian ad litem.

Duties and responsibilities of a guardian ad litem

When the court names a guardian ad litem, he or she will serve as an advocate for your child. This representative will get to know your child and build a trusting relationship.

The guardian ad litem may also speak to significant individuals in your child’s life, such as care providers, teachers and other family members. He or she will review your child’s school and medical records and gather other appropriate data with the goal of making the best possible custody recommendations for your child.

Sometimes, the guardian ad litem may present testimony on behalf of the child. This is often a solution when the child is too young to speak before the judge or when the parents do not want to expose the child to the stress of the legal process. Either way, the representative will appear at all court hearings that involve custody or other arrangements associated with the minor child.

Appointment of a guardian ad litem

If you think your child would benefit from the support of a guardian ad litem, your attorney can ask the court to appoint one. The judge in your case can also decide to appoint an agent independent of the parent’s wishes. Depending on the Ohio county hearing your case, your child’s representative may be an attorney or a court-appointed special advocate.

When a guardian ad litem speaks for your son or daughter, he or she will present a comprehensive report to the judge before the final hearing. The court will consider these recommendations, but ultimately the judge has final discretion to create a child custody order.