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Oak Forest family law attorney guardian ad litemA Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) is a legally appointed attorney who is assigned by a judge in child custody cases at the request of one parent or the other (or their attorney). The GAL is supposed to act as the legal representative of the child or children. They are in a position to spend time interviewing the parents, children, and other parties involved in the case, and they will then report directly back to the judge.

Should I Request a GAL?

While you may feel that your children will be better off with a GAL involved in your case, you must understand that the GAL is not supposed to act as an advocate for either parent, and they will focus instead on the children’s needs. They are tasked with legally determining the best interests of the child. Even though you and the GAL both have your child’s best interests at heart, there may be many negatives to involving a GAL in your case.

If you are financially unstable, for example, a GAL may see that as a sign that you may have trouble providing for your children. If you report concerns to him or her that are unfounded, then the GAL may see you as overly emotional and/or acting out of anger rather than out of care for your children. The GAL may be focused on pursuing specific information that he or she knows the judge will want to know, rather than listening to the issues that you feel are important.

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Palos Heights divorce lawyerDivorce is not uncommon; depending on which reference you are using, the divorce rate in the United States is reported to be anywhere between 40 and 50 percent. With that number in mind, you would think that more people would understand the ins and the outs of divorce, but many topics still seem to be misunderstood by most people. Here are three widely accepted “facts” of divorce and the truths behind them:

1. If One Spouse Is at Fault for the Divorce, They Will Be Penalized

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) only recognizes “irreconcilable differences” as the grounds, or reason, for divorce. No-fault divorce only requires a spouse who files for divorce to state that their marriage has irretrievably broken down, without requiring them to provide a reason. The IMDMA states that decisions about property division and spousal support cannot be made with regard to any sort of marital misconduct. So in short, unless a spouse is dissipating marital property in an affair (such as by using marital funds to buy gifts for a paramour), adultery or other reasons one spouse is at fault will likely not affect the legal aspects of a divorce.

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