Best Guardian Ad Litem In Colorado

January 30, 2021

A guardian ad litem is typically appointed by the court to act in the best interests of a minor. According to the Legal Information Institute (LII), courts can appoint guardians ad litem in cases involving child custody, child support, divorce, visitation rights, and adoption. A guardian ad litem typically aims to find the best solution for a child, which may or may not be what the child prefers. Consider visiting with our experienced attorneys at the Johnson Law Group for any of your family law needs. We can help you through the difficult child custody and support issues in your divorce case. Call us now at (720) 463-4333 or text-to-chat (720) 730-4558.

The Responsibilities of a Guardian Ad Litem

A guardian ad litem in Colorado is generally paid by the Colorado Office of the Child’s Representative, appointed by the court, and can represent the child in any divorce, even if there is no indication of neglect or abuse.  A guardian ad litem acts in their best interests. It is important to note that a guardian ad litem does not make any day-to-day decisions for a child or an incapacitated person and only serves for the duration of a court case.

A guardian ad litem in Colorado can be responsible for assisting with many tasks, including:

  • Researching and analyzing a case fully
  • Examining and cross-examining witnesses
  • Making recommendations to the court regarding the welfare of a child
  • Appealing against any decisions if necessary
  • Ensure safe and permanent living arrangements for a child of divorce

Never assume that a guardian ad litem is adversarial or acting against your interests as a parent. They are often there simply to help the court make important decisions about the custody or welfare of your child that can not be agreed upon by the parents.

Who Can Act as a Guardian Ad Litem in Colorado?

In Colorado, a guardian ad litem must be an attorney who is licensed to practice law in the state. The attorney will be responsible for acting in the best interests of the child or incapacitated person. A guardian ad litem in Colorado is regulated by the Office of the Child’s Representative which maintains a database of qualified lawyers who can act as guardians ad litem.

According to Colorado Revised Statute 19-1-111, a guardian ad litem must be appointed in all dependency or neglect cases in the state. A court may also see fit to appoint a guardian ad litem in delinquency cases where:

  • Conflict of interest exists between the child and their parent or legal guardian
  • Appointing a guardian ad litem is necessary for serving the best interests of the child
  • Proceedings involve school attendance laws
  • A parent or legal guardian has a mental illness or developmental disability

Guardian Ad Litem in Divorce Cases

In some cases, a guardian ad litem may be appointed for divorce proceedings, particularly when the parents cannot agree on custody arrangements. A guardian ad litem can research the living arrangements and family circumstances of the child to find out what would be in the best interests of the minor. This can include visiting the child and parents, as well as requesting education and medical records.

The guardian ad litem will also conduct any other research that they deem necessary for arriving at a sound decision. In some cases, this can mean taking the child’s opinion into account regarding where and with whom they would prefer to reside. Once the decision has been made, the guardian ad litem will make recommendations to the court, typically in the form of a written report. The report can include details on how custody arrangements should look, where the child will reside, and practical considerations with any visitation arrangements.

It is important to note that the guardian ad litem while acting strictly in the best interests of the child, is not the child’s attorney. This means that the guardian’s recommendations can go against the will and wishes of the child.

Preparing for a Guardian Ad Litem Meeting

If a guardian ad litem was appointed in your divorce case, you will likely have a meeting with them at some point. You have a legal right to have an attorney with you during any meeting with a guardian ad litem. However, whether you have an attorney present or not, consider the following points as you prepare for your meeting with the guardian ad litem.

  • Have an attitude of cooperation and positivity
  • Provide all documentation prior to the meeting that was requested by the guardian ad litem
  • Never speak negatively or hatefully regarding the other parent
  • Carefully describe your situation and answer the guardian ad litem’s questions respectfully
  • Make sure to bring a listing of all people your child interacts with on a regular basis, as well as all academic or extracurricular activities
  • Provide contact information for all teachers, coaches, and doctors
  • Have actual examples of behavior or instances regarding situations between your child and the other parent instead of speaking in generalities
  • Always visit with the guardian ad litem respectfully
  • Never coach or coerce your child into saying something to the guardian ad litem

Your guardian ad litem is trying to make the best decision possible for your child. Help them in every way that you can during this meeting. Additionally, make sure to visit with your attorney regarding this meeting for any additional specific assistance or guidance to ensure the best possible outcome for your child.

Contact the Johnson Law Group for Assistance Now

It can be stressful when a court decides that your child receives a guardian ad litem appointed by the court for legal proceedings. You might feel that this takes power away from you and your family. When parents cannot agree on custody arrangements after a divorce, guardian ad litems are often called in to help the court make the final decision. If you have a family court hearing, guardian ad litem hearing, or other divorce matter and are concerned about your legal options, contact the experienced family law attorneys at the Johnson Law Group for personalized, professional, and compassionate legal support. Call us today to determine your legal rights in a free case review (720) 463-4333 or text-to-chat (720) 730-4558.

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Written by Family Law Attorney Myles S. Johnson
Divorce doesn’t have to be dramatic. For the litigants, losing your spouse is significant enough. But you can choose the way it affects your daily life. The only guarantee I can give is that the feeling that you have right now will not be the feeling you end with. This is a season in your life, and it must be approached that way.
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