Ask a Lawyer: Should I request a Guardian ad Litem?

Question:

I have been legally divorced for almost 2 years now. I share 50% Joint Legal Custody of my 2 children, aged 8 and 5. Since my divorce, I filed, we have gone through two parent coordinators, one left on her own accord, one dismissed by ex-wife without success, but powerless nonetheless. I have made several visits to the court due to my ex-wife’s continued harassment of my time with my children with no resolve. I am seeking the services of a guardian ad litem. Is this the proper move.?

Answer:

I am not licensed in the State of MA and therefore cannot answer your question specifically to the laws of that State. In my jurisdiction, Guardian ad Litems are required if abuse or neglect of the children is alleged. If abuse is not alleged a court can at its discretion appoint a guardian if requested, or on their own motion. However, GAL’s are much like wild cards in poker, they support the weaker hand. If you have a good case, why throw in a wild card that could side with your ex-wife? In addition, the cost factor needs to be decided. If you are of limited resources for your litigation, you must consider if your funds can be put to better use than paying the GAL. Would retaining an expert witness be a better use of your money? Finally, in the limited amount of information that you have provided, I will say it is uncommon for me to recommend a GAL in a motion for contempt or motion for family access and that appears to be what you are filing.
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