When families undergo a divorce, the parties must determine the allocation of finances, assets and property that was shared during the marriage. In most cases, this is the easiest part of a separation. The more difficult aspect of a divorce is deciding how things will work for the children.

In some situations, the court will appoint a Guardian ad Litem, a term usually shortened to “GAL.” The main purpose of a GAL is to investigate and make recommendations to the court concerning the best interests of the child.

A GAL is there to look out for your child or children and help the courts reach a decision about custody and visitation. Here are three things you need to know about the role of a GAL, from an experienced child custody lawyer based in Worthington, Ohio.

1. There is a fee

The work of a GAL is not free. While the bill is usually split 50/50 for both parties, it’s important that you understand that the GAL is doing a job, much like you do in your work, and needs to be paid. You are responsible for your share of the entire investigation, including the hours spent with other parties.

If you are absolutely unable to pay for the cost of a GAL, the court can sometimes appoint a pro bono GAL.

Be careful: if the bill for a GAL is not paid for, your ability to present evidence to the court could be limited.

Also, remember that the GAL is selected and appointed by the judge or magistrate assigned to your case. It is not possible in Ohio for a party to hire his or her own GAL.

2. The GAL is there for your child’s best interest

When working with the GAL, it’s important to be professional and courteous. Interviewing and talking to the GAL is not the time to make accusations or claims against the other party. It can be easy to be swept up in emotions during a custody battle, so it’s important that during this time that you still show the affection and love you have for your children and let the GAL do the work that is required.

3. Documentation is important

Pictures, text messages, emails, medical records, finance reports, and anything that you can think of that pertains to the care of your chil is useful for a GAL. The more information that you provide, the better they can do their job and complete the investigation. If you need assistance in gathering the right documentation, contact a child custody lawyer in the Worthington, Ohio area to help.

If your child custody case has been appointed a GAL, and you are looking for an attorney to represent you, call The Obenour Legal Group. Our family law attorney in Columbus Ohio will assist you in the process of a GAL investigation so that you are fairly represented in court. Contact us today for a half-hour consultation.