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Naperville, IL GALIt is not uncommon for divorcing couples to disagree on matters that they must settle during a divorce, but when those issues involve decisions that affect their children, the matter is suddenly more serious. Studies have shown that conflict, whether during marriage or divorce, can cause harmful, long-term effects, such as low self-esteem, depression and anxiety, and even less stability in their own romantic relationships. When parents cannot come to an agreement on child-related issues during a divorce, a judge will make the determination. But a judge does not know anything about your family beyond what he or she has observed in the courtroom. To help them better understand the dynamics of the situation and make an informed decision, they may appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL) to your case.

What is a GAL?

According to Illinois laws, a guardian ad litem is an attorney who is appointed to a case to determine what is in the best interest of the child. Their job is to investigate the family situation and make reports pertaining to whatever the case’s contested issues may be, which often include the allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting time, visitation, and/or child support. Because of this, the GAL is often referred to as the “eyes and ears” of the court. 

How a GAL Can Help

There are many benefits to working with a GAL, especially when an agreement cannot be reached with your spouse. A GAL will conduct a full investigation into your family and the situations surrounding the disagreement. To do this, the GAL will do things like:

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Naperville divorce and family law attorneyMany divorced individuals reported the conversation of asking for divorce as one of the most stressful conversations they have ever had. When you ask your spouse for a divorce, you are essentially telling your spouse that you are no longer in love with them, which can be hard for anyone to hear. Breaking the news of divorce can become even more difficult if you have children. Even though a divorce is an adult problem, children are often caught in the middle of the turmoil. The initial conversation you have with your child about your divorce can set the stage for how they will cope with the divorce throughout the process. When you go to have that conversation with your child, here are a few tips to use:

Act as a United Front With Your Spouse 

Even though it may be the last thing you want to do, you and your spouse should act as a team when you have this conversation with your children. You should break the news of your divorce when both of you are together and all of your children are present. Work out and agree on what you will say beforehand so you can avoid any emotionally fueled or impulsive remarks.

Explain the Situation to Your Children in Words They Understand

Your child will want to know why you are getting a divorce, and it is your job as a parent to explain it to them in a way that they will comprehend. As an adult, you understand the complexities surrounding the divorce, but your child(ren) will not and will question why mom and dad do not love each other anymore. The information that you tell your child will depend on their age and ability to understand. Obviously, younger children will suffice with simpler information, while older children will naturally want to know more.

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