For those of you just joining us in this never-ending divorce/custody/visitation/bullshit battle, you can catch up here, here, here and here. And most recently, here. All caught up? Good. Then you already know that we have been assigned a Guardian Ad Litem, who is basically a court-appointed lawyer for the best interest of the child. She doesn't care about me, she doesn't care about W. She just cares about what is best for Jellybean. Which is great.
In order to get a full report, the guardian needs to hear both sides of the story from each parent. She also needs to do a home inspection of each home and to see how the child interacts with each parent. In most cases, the guardian will speak privately with the child(ren), but since my child cannot form real sentences, she probably won't be interviewing her. After all that, she will write a report on the entire situation and make a recommendation to the court.
I have scoured the internet looking for some sort of reading material on how to impress the Guardian Ad Litem. There is absolutely nothing out there. Not that I am trying to hide anything, I just want to be as prepared as humanly possible. And since there isn't anything out there, it looks like it's up to me.
So begins my series of How To Impress The Guardian Ad Litem.
The most important thing to remember is that this lady is going to make or break your case. Whether you are fighting for custody, trying to obtain visitation, or aiming to keep someone potentially dangerous out of your child's life, she is your lifeline and the court is likely to make a decision based on her report. (And by "likely to" I mean your entire case depends on that report.) She's kind of a big deal.
The second most important thing about a guardian ad litem is that she is there for your child(ren), not you. Nor is she siding up with the other parent. She doesn't care that he cheated on you with your best friend on your birthday or that you threw all of his belongings out the window when you caught him. So don't waste her time or your breath going on and on about such things. She is looking out for the best interest of your child, which is what you should be focused on as well; so you two should see eye-to-eye on many things based on this point.
The last important piece of information that I would like to point out about a guardian ad litem, is that time is money. And her time is worth about $100/hour. You can be respectful to your bank account by being respectful of her time.
Part I: The Initial Meeting
Part II: Preparing For The Home Inspection
Part III: The Home Inspection & Parent/Child Interaction
Part IV: Consulting The Witnesses
Part V: Drug Testing
Part VI: Do What The Guardian Tells You