In Family Court, a Guardian ad Litem is a qualified professional appointed by the judge to investigate and evaluate a case involving a child, acting in the child's best interest. They meet with the children, parents, coaches, teachers and other witnesses. Records and documents are reviewed. Often, visits are done to a child's home, school and sporting events. The statute that the judge reviews to determine the timesharing, decision making and other outcomes about the child, is applied to the facts learned in the investigation and recommendations are generated. Guardian ad Litems attend hearings, mediation and trial.
Mediation is an opportunity to control the outcome of your case, after joining the other party and their attorney to discuss a possible agreement. Instructions are given in the beginning. The parties then meet separately or together with a neutral person, who brings proposals back and forth. Though sometimes stressful, preparation and fairness make the process go as smoothly as possible.
There are several types, each governed by different rules and statutes. In Family Court, Guardian ad Litems are professionals specifically appointed to investigate and evaluate a parenting case for the judge. Statutory factors are applied and final recommendations then made. In Dependency Court, a Guardian ad Litem volunteer meets with a child and often attends court on behalf of the state funded Guardian ad Litem program. A child's wishes and recommendations are relayed. In Guardianship Court, a professional or willing family member is appointed to make financial, legal, medical and other life decisions on behalf of an individual who is unable to make their own decisions. These descriptions are not exhaustive and the cases each begin very differently. However, each of these roles allow for conclusions to be made about a third person.
Testifying, akin to public speaking, can be nerve-wracking. The best approach is to always tell the truth and to speak from your heart. Preparation and doing "the work" throughout the case makes this easier and far more productive.
Divorce cases involve many issues, including parenting, distribution of assets and debts, attorneys fees , child support and attorneys fees. It results in restoring a person to 'single' once again. Paternity cases do not involve property or distribution typically. Rather, they focus on parenting and child support. Depending on the pleadings, they result in a parenting plan, schedule and support determination.
Both Baker Acts and Marchman Acts allow a person to be temporarily taken for the benefit of themselves or those around them. They differ in the cause, statute and outcomes.
Family Law, Mediation and Guardian ad Litem Services for Southwest Florida Families
Law Offices of Kimberly L. Erwin, PLLC
Post Office Box 2828, Fort Myers, Florida 33902
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