|Posted by Colby Smith-Hynes on July 25, 2014 at 11:40 AM|
Many parties who are facing divorce and have minor children want to know if a Guardian Ad Litem (also known as GAL) is necessary in their case. Guardian Ad Litem's are typically court appointed and represent minor children in cases of a sensitive nature such as abuse, neglect or in contested domestic cases where the parents of the children do not agree on the terms of custody, support, visitation or as determined by separation or divorce. They act as separate entities and are considered the minor children's legal representative in Missouri courts, apart from the Petitioner and Respondants own attorneys and attend hearings. They have full discretion to cross-examine, subpeona witnesses and offer testimonies. Prior to the hearing, they may interview associates, family members and sometimes, when appropriate, the minor children themselves to determine terms of custody and appropriate visitation schedule.
If the parties can reach an amicable agreement regarding these issues, then chances are, no GAL will be necessary.
More information can be found at: http://www.moga.mo.gov/statutes/C400-499/4520000423.HTM
Here at Smith-Hynes Law Firm LLC, we are proud to have one of only 10 court appointed GAL's in Jefferson County on staff. Experience matters when it involves children, and we are diligent and proactive in sensitive cases such as this. Call us today for a consultation.