When I am appointed Guardian Ad Litem in a family law case, I will first meet with each individual party alone at the office. The party will be given the opportunity to discuss the background of the case and all issues of concern. The party can provide me with a list of witnesses to contact, and any documents to review. I will then have each party individually bring the child(ren) to the office, so I can observe the parent/child(ren) relationship in a formal setting and interview the child(ren). I will then perform home studies of each party's home, preferably during the week at dinner time.
I would like to observe the parties in their regular weeknight routine and to see the family dynamic during dinner. After the full investigation, I will prepare a detailed and comprehensive report and will make recommendations for a Parenting Plan which is in the child(ren)'s best interest based on the statutory factors.
Parents need to understand that although the child(ren)'s preference will be considered the recommendation will be based on all of the factors. What is determined to be in the child(ren)'s best interest may not be what the child(ren) wants. I will consider if certain types of counseling or evaluations are necessary before submitting the report. My hourly rate for Guardian Ad Litem cases is $250.00 per hour, and the retainer will be based on the issues of the individual cases.