Thank you for your website. It is most helpful. Background: Mother moved out of home and into home with another man soon after filing divorce in May 2005. 2 small boys age 7 and 8 are in the home with me. We are in court for custody of the boys The wife made abuse agegations against me and now the court has order a GAL. What do I need to do to prepare for a GAL. What to expect, what to do to get the GAL on my side, etc.
Thanks for writing.
The GAL is a lawyer who represents the interests of the children. Your attorney MUST represent your interests (regardless of what's best for the kids). The mother's attorney MUST represent her interests (regardless of what's best for the kids). So, the court wants an attorney to represent the KIDS' interest too.
The GAL should be somewhat objective in how she/he determines what's best for the children. The GAL will review pleadings, evidence, and documents. The GAL will probably interview each parent, perhaps more than once.
It's your job to convince the GAL of what is best for the children.
I put that line in bold because it's the most important one for you to remember.
It's best to speak factually, and it's always important to make points that are related to the children. (You notice the bold words again?)
So, don't spend an hour talking about your feelings about your ex, don't speculate that she'll eventually sell the kids into slavery, and don't make accusations that you can't back up with evidence.
If you provide facts in an organized way, it will be most helpful to the GAL in deciding what is best for the boys. The GAL wants facts so she/he can make clear recommendations based upon relevant facts.
You didn't say that the abuse allegations are false. If they are false, I recommend that you take a polygraph exam (a lie detector test) before meeting with the GAL. This may cost a few hundred dollars. But if you can hand the polygraph examiner's report to the GAL at your first meeting, wherein it says you weren't lying when saying that you have never hit, punched, burned (or whatever) your boys, you will be off to a GREAT start.
You are at a pretty good advantage if the boys have mostly lived with you since May 2005. If you are a decent parent, you shouldn't have much to worry about.
However, not worrying isn't the same as taking this very seriously and giving the GAL all the facts that clearly show you're the best primary parent for these boys.
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.