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Appointed matrimonial referee says one thing, and law guardian (GAL) recommends something else

Your Question:
The law guardian have interviewed both of us and recommened that we have 50/50 custody without primary custodial parent. When we went to the matrimonial referee, his decision was that she would have custody of the children and that I would have liberal visitation. Can I fight the referee decision and ask the court to reconsider the law guardian recommendation?

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My Answer:

Unfortunately, this is one of those things where you'll need to consult an attorney in your area who is familiar with your judge.

I assume that the matrimonial referee was appointed by the court to largely advise the court on what orders should be made.

On the other hand, you've got a GAL who is supposed to represent the interests of the children.

These two parties, both supposedly advocates of the child's best interest, are at odds.

So, I imagine you COULD fight the referee's decision, but I just don't know what your chances are. That's where you need an attorney in your area who knows the judge and would know if said judge will just rubberstamp the referee's decision or truly examine the different viewpoints before ruling.

Then again, you used the word "reconsider" when making reference to the GAL's recommendation, so it sounds like the GAL's position may have already been considered?

I suggest that it may be time to do a cost/risk analysis. If you've got plenty of money to blow on attorney fees, I don't think it'd would hurt you to argue the GAL's position until you get a ruling. If you don't have plenty of money, however, you may want to really think about the chance of a different outcome-- and you'll need an attorney in your area to help you do that analysis.

Of course, if "liberal visitation" amounts to 45% or 49%, and the only thing you've lost is assignment of mom as having custody, that's a much different scenario than if you have 20% custody timeshare as a product of "liberal visitation."

Aside from a cost/risk analysis, just do what you think is best for your kids, and that's all you can do. You'll certainly have better peace with yourself if you've done everything you can do, regardless of outcome.

Good luck.


This website gives common sense advice that is not intended to act as legal guidance nor psychological guidance. The author is neither an attorney nor licensed psychologist. For specific legal guidance or specific psychological guidance, consult with a licensed professional.

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