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The Duty of a Guardian ad Litem When a Child’s Parent Has Been Removed From Their Life After 15 Years.

When a 15 year old child has a parent, and everyone on that parent’s side removed from their lives after 15 years. Having enjoyed 15 years of birthdays, Christmases, vacations, friends, family, experiences and so on, and that child has not been allowed to see or speak with that parent or communicate with most of their other parent’s family members and friends, for a year… That child knows what they are missing and they MISS it! If you are that child’s Guardian ad Litem, it is your DUTY to DILIGENTLY work on ways to reunite that child and that parent. There should be no obstical greater than the your desire to do what is best for your client. An innocent, trusting, confused and hurting, child.

And I’m not the only one who thinks this way.

In the complex landscape of family law, the role of a Guardian ad Litem (G) stands out as a beacon of hope for children caught the midst of familial discord. When a 15-year-old child finds themselves estranged from a parent and cut off from their entire extended family, the weight of that loss reverberates through every milestone missed and memory left unshared. In such circumstances, the GAL's duty becomes a sacred obligation to diligently pursue avenues for reunification between parent and child.

Imagine a child who, after 15 years of shared birthdays, holidays, vacations, and cherished experiences, suddenly faces a void created by the absence of a parent and the severance of all ties to that parent's side of the family. This isolation goes beyond physical distance; it strikes at the heart of the child's identity and sense of belonging. For a year, the child has been denied the simple joys of familial love and connection, a deprivation keenly felt in the quiet moments of solitude and the echoes of laughter that once filled their home.

As the Guardian ad Litem entrusted with safeguarding the best interests of the child, the responsibility is not merely a matter of formality—it is a profound calling to advocate zealously for the child's emotional well-being and relational needs. To ignore the ache of separation and the yearning for reunion would be a disservice to the child's fundamental right to family unity and emotional sustenance.

How is the guardian Ad litem further damaging the relationship between the child and the removed parent by not advocating for swift reunification

By failing to advocate for swift reunification between the child and the removed parent, the Guardian Litem (GAL risks further damaging the already strained relationship them.

The longer the child is kept separate from the removed, the greater the emotional strain on both the child and the parent. The child may develop feelings of abandonment or resentment towards the parent for not taking action to reunify. Similarly, the parent may feel helpless and anguished at being kept apart from their child.

If the GAL does not prioritize swift reunification, both the child and the parent may lose trust in the system and in the GAL's ability to act in their best interests. This lack of trust can lead to further deterioration of the relationship between the child and the parent.

Delaying reunification can result in missed opportunities for reconciliation and healing. The longer the separation persists, the harder it may become for the child and the parent to bridge the emotional gap that has formed between them.

In some cases, prolonged separation enforced by legal proceedings can escalate conflicts and lead to legal battles that further strain the relationship. A GAL who does not advocate for swift reunification may inadvertently contribute to escalating legal conflicts rather than fostering a resolution.

Research shows that children thrive best when they have strong relationships with both parents. Prolonged separation from one parent can have negative effects on the child's emotional well-being, sense of stability, and overall development.

By not advocating for swift reunification between the child and the removed parent, the Guardian ad Litem risks exacerbating the damage to the relationship between them. It is crucial for the GAL to prioritize the child's best interests, which often includes facilitating timely reunification to promote healing, reconciliation, and positive familial relationships.

How can the Guardian ad Litem work with both the child and the removed parent to rebuild trust and mend the strained relationship caused by prolonged separation?

Rebuilding trust and mending the strained relationship between the child and the parent is a delicate and crucial task for the Guardian ad Litem (GAL). Here some ways the GAL can work with both parties to facilitate this process:

Encourage open and honest communication between the child and the parent. The GAL can act as a mediator to facilitate conversations, express feelings, and address concerns in a safe and supportive environment.

Listen actively to both the child and the removed parent's perspectives, concerns, and needs. Show empathy and understanding towards their experiences and emotions, demonstrating that their voices are being heard and valued.

Offer emotional support and reassurance to both the child and the removed parent throughout the reunification process. Acknowledge their feelings, validate their experiences, and provide guidance on coping strategies to navigate the challenges they may face.

Encourage the child and the removed parent to engage in activities together to rebuild their bond. This could involve spending quality time together, participating in shared interests, or seeking professional counseling to address underlying issues.

Acknowledge and reinforce positive interactions between the child and the removed parent. Celebrate small victories, moments of connection, and progress made towards rebuilding trust and strengthening their relationship.

Help manage expectations by setting realistic goals for the reunification process. Recognize that rebuilding trust takes time and effort from both parties and that setbacks may occur along the way. Encourage patience and perseverance in working towards a stronger relationship.

Work collaboratively with therapists, counselors, or other professionals involved in the case to ensure that the reunification process is approached holistically and with the best interests of the child in mind. Seek input from experts on effective strategies for repairing the parent-child relationship.

Continuously monitor the progress of the reunification process and be prepared to address any challenges or obstacles that may arise. Stay engaged with both the child and the removed parent to provide ongoing support and guidance as needed.

By actively working with both the child and the removed parent to rebuild trust and mend the strained relationship caused by prolonged separation, the Guardian ad Litem can play a critical role in promoting healing, reconciliation, and a positive future for their family.

What should a parent do when their guardian Ad litem is not looking out for the best interests of their child

If a parent believes that their Guardian ad Litem (GAL) is not out for the best of their child, it essential to address this concern promptly and take appropriate steps to ensure the child's-being. Here are some actions a parent can consider in such a situation:

Schedule a meeting with the GAL to express your concerns and discuss any issues you have regarding their handling of the case. Be prepared to provide specific examples or reasons why you believe the GAL's actions may not be in the best interests of the child.

Ask the GAL to explain their rationale for the decisions they have made or the actions they have taken concerning the child's welfare. Understanding their perspective may help clarify any misunderstandings or disagreements.

Keep a record of any interactions, communications, or observations that raise doubts about the GAL's commitment to the child's best interests. Documenting specific incidents or behaviors can provide evidence to support your concerns if further action is necessary.

If you feel that the GAL is not fulfilling their duties appropriately, you may request a review of their performance by the court or the agency overseeing the GAL program. Provide details of your concerns and request a reevaluation of the situation.

If you believe that the GAL's actions pose a serious risk to the child's well-being, consider consulting with a family law attorney who can advise you on your legal options. An attorney can help you navigate the process and advocate for your child's best interests.

In extreme cases where you believe the GAL is not acting in the child's best interests despite your efforts to address the issue, you may request a new GAL to be appointed to the case. Present your reasons for this request to the appropriate authorities overseeing the GAL program.

Engage with other professionals involved in the case, such as social workers, therapists, or child advocates, to seek their input and support in addressing the concerns about the GAL's conduct. Their perspectives and expertise can provide additional insight into the situation.

It's crucial to prioritize the child's well-being and act in their best interests when addressing concerns about a Guardian ad Litem's actions. Open communication, documentation, seeking appropriate guidance, and advocating for the child's needs are key strategies to address such situations effectively.

How can parents ensure that their concerns about a Guardian Litem's actions are taken seriously and addressed promptly?

Keep detailed records of any interactions, communications, or observations that raise doubts about the GAL's actions. Document specific incidents, behaviors, or decisions that you believe are not in the best interests of the child.

Express your concerns to the appropriate authorities, such as the court overseeing the case or the agency responsible for appointing GALs. Provide specific examples and reasons why you believe the GAL's actions may not be in the child's best interests.

Request a meeting with the GAL to discuss your concerns in person. Be prepared to articulate your points clearly and listen to the GAL's perspective as well. A face-to-face discussion can often help clarify misunderstandings and find common ground.

Consider consulting with a family law attorney who is experienced in dealing with GAL-related issues. An attorney can provide guidance on how to address your concerns effectively and advocate for your child's best interests.

Follow the formal procedures set by the court or the agency for addressing complaints or grievances related to GALs. This may involve filing a formal complaint, requesting a review of the GAL's performance, or seeking a replacement if necessary.

If you have concerns about the GAL's actions impacting the child's well-being, involve other professionals working with the family, such as therapists, counselors, or social workers. They may be able to provide additional insights or support your case.

Keep following up on your concerns and requests for action. Persistence is key to ensuring that your concerns are not dismissed and that appropriate steps are taken to address them.

By taking these proactive steps and advocating for your child's best interests, parents can increase the likelihood that their concerns about a GAL's actions will be taken seriously and addressed promptly.

Do you have a Guaridan ad Litem that acts more like your ex’s attorney than your child’s? Does your GAL ignore your emails, only make you abide by court orders, do they violate court orders themselves? Does your GAL honor every demand of your ex while ignoring all of your requests? Do they undermine you as a parent while emboldening your ex? Does your ex treat your GAL like a friend and act more empowered than when you brought them to court in the first place? We want to hear about it. (Especially if it’s in Charleston South Carolina, or the surrounding area).

Beware not all Guardian ad Litems are the Guardians some of them are the Gatekeepers.



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