What is a guardian ad litem under the Texas Family Code? Fort Worth divorce lawyer explains
A guardian ad litem is a “guardian at law” that represents an individual’s interest in litigation. The most common cases in Texas with a guardian ad litem is probate and family court to represent a minor. A guardian ad litem, at least in Texas, is almost never an attorney. The guardian ad litem should have an educational background in child welfare.
In family law they often appear in divorces and child custody suits to represent the best interests of the child. The reason why a third party represents the child is because often the parents or other family members do not have an objective view of what is in the best interest of the child. Anytime children are involved in a family law situation the court must consider the best interests of the child. A third party helps provide the court a neutral analysis of the child and the situation.
The guardian ad litem will interview the child, family members and the attorneys. Often they seek other records such as school records or therapist records. The guardian ad litem uses this information to prepare a report that is given to the court to help the court determine what is in the best interests of the child.
Guardian ad litem in Fort Worth, Texas and Dallas, Texas divorces
Any party may request a guardian ad litem in Texas family courts or the court may appoint one on its own. The guardian ad litem’s role is informative. He or she does not represent the child in court. A child may have an attorney ad litem appointed by the court. That attorney would represent the child to the court as a party in the suit.
A guardian ad litem may determine the best interests of the child are not the same as the child’s wishes, such as the child wants to live with the mom but the dad’s living situation is safer, but the guardian ad litem must inform the court of his or her opinion on the best interests, even when they conflict with the child’s wishes. An attorney ad litem in the same situation would represent the child’s wishes to the court even if not in the child’s best interest. The guardian ad litem is not an adversary. Parties should cooperate with the guardian ad litem. When in doubt, hire divorce lawyers to represent your interests and work with the ad litems.