When you get divorced in Florida and children are involved, you and your soon-to-be ex may have very different ideas about how both the parenting plan and timesharing arrangements should be drafted. Despite many efforts, you may not be able to reach an agreement on how to “share” and care for your children going forward.
In these cases, either you, your co-parent, or the court system may request that a Guardian ad Litem (referred to as a GAL) be appointed to evaluate the entire situation and come up with a suggested parenting plan and timesharing arrangement.
Read more about Florida laws surrounding GALs here.
The GAL is responsible for writing up recommendations and then later presents a GAL Report to both parties and the court. And, while the court does is not required to adopt the recommendations of the GAL, it usually does the vast majority of the time.
Here is some information regarding GALs and what they do . . .
- A GAL’s primary goal is to provide recommendations for a parenting plan and timesharing agreement of the child(ren) involved in the case.
- Once you and your co-parent agree on or the Court appoints a GAL the GAL will conduct in-person and telephone interviews of the child, each parent, and each listed reference and witness.
- The GAL may also choose to interview the child(ren)’s teachers, caretakers, and/or anyone else the GAL feels may assist in determining the child(ren)’s best interests.
- Taking into consideration everything the GAL has learned and witnessed, he or she will then prepare recommendations for a parenting plan and timesharing agreement that he or she feels is in the best interest of the child(ren).
- A formal report is presented to the parties and to the court. The court will take the report into consideration and may choose to adopt it in full, in part, or not at all.
Check out this site here to learn more about GALs in Florida.
What is the Difference Between a GAL and a Coral Gables Family Law Attorney?
You might wonder what the difference is between a GAL and family law attorney. The main difference between the two is that a GAL looks out solely for the best interest of the child.
A family law lawyer will work on his or her client’s best interests and desired legal outcomes. While most legal family situations want what is best for their family, regardless of separation, divorce, and so on, a family law attorney or mediator will approach a family’s situation by representing their rights and fight for his or her client’s best interest.
Why Mediation and Settlement is Better . . .
As you can see, if a GAL is appointed in your case, he or she has the power to craft a parenting plan and timesharing plan with which you may completely disagree.
And, while there are ways to challenge the report and recommendations of a GAL, it is difficult; therefore, working with your attorney and your co-parent to come up with a solution you can both live with is much more optimal than allowing a stranger to do it for you.
Mediation is a great way for you, your co-parent and your respective attorneys to present ideas, rationales and to hash out a solution.
Learn more about mediation in Florida here.
You Can Count on a Coral Gables Family Law Attorney to Best Represent You and Your Family
A Florida family law attorney can help you with this process and work to ensure your rights as a parent are protected.
Visit here to learn more about working with a Coral Gables family law attorney for your family’s needs.