OhMeOhMy's picture

Why wouldnt the GAL interview our ppl?

Short version since I'm on my phone typing Smiling after custody of my ss5 and SD7, we live 9.5 hours away, we are after custody for many reasons, #1 is the physical abuse in the house from their stepdad to bm and emotional and mental abuse towards kids. The other child in the home was given to the other dad end of last year. What are some reasons for the guardian ad litem assigned to the case not to interview the contacts we listed that he initiatily asked for? Been 2 months almost since we met with him with the kids

OhMeOhMy's picture

Ugh sorry for the typos

Ugh sorry for the typos

Echo's picture

Has your husband/SO called

Has your husband/SO called the GAL and asked that question outright? He has a right to an answer.

I know one of our GALs claimed to be incredibly busy and it took her months to do her job. (which she sucked at) In some areas, 2 months isn't long. If nothing else? If the GAL does, in fact, refuse to contact the people you've asked to be interviewed, that's clear grounds to appeal if he makes a recommendation that you disapprove of.

If it's important to you, you'll find a way. If it's not, you'll find an excuse.

Nobody can hurt me without my permission.
Mohandas Gandhi

sroutlaw's picture

Wrong. Google "grounds for

Wrong. Google "grounds for appeal in family court decisions." I guarantee you will not find listed "the GAL didn't talk to the people I wanted her to talk to.... You also won't find "I didn't get what I wanted" listed. Appeal requires actual legal error. Legal error is not about what you wanted done or not done - it is a term of art. So Google that next.

"Claims" to be that busy is just a way of somehow trying to disbelieve that an attorney was busy. HOw odd. We are, in fact, that busy. It would be ridiculous to drop all the other clients and just work on the case where the parent bit**ed the most. We all have our own systems, but most attorneys leave the back end work on the case to close to the court date for a reason. We really are that busy, and there are (surprise!) other cases that have priority over yours. I understand this is your only case before a judge, but it is not mine, not by a wide mile. So, be respectful of the GAL and of his/her time and wait to see what the recommendation is and what it is based on before you try to say the GAL sucks at his or her job. You don't even totally understand that person's job, or you would realize that it isn't to be your advocate.

OhMeOhMy's picture

Thanks for the reply...our

Thanks for the reply...our gal was supposed to start work in November, but didn't until mid March due to bm not paying her share of the deposit ...we finished our part at the end of march, she finally set up her appointment may 20th. As far as I know they haven't contacted anyone we suggested. Our lawyer is supposed to be following up with the gal to see if she followed thru

sroutlaw's picture

I am a GAL. We are THAT busy

I am a GAL. We are THAT busy and guess what? She is not OBLIGATED to talk to people you tell her to talk to. She has to make an independent assessment, which may mean she talks to people you didn't list, purposely because you didn't list them. Kids teachers, principals, doctors, friends, etc, are not immune. But, she also isn't obligated to talk to anyone but the kids....

When is your court date? If it isn't this week, it's pretty easy to imagine she isn't doing much on the case. I never do. I have 352 ad litem kids, do my investigations based on MY criteria which may or may not include talking to the people parents suggest (FYI we aren't dumb, we know if you suggest them they will take your "side" generally). Your attorney pestering her will only annoy her, and again, her job is to remain INDEPENDENT of what you want, so it won't spur her on to do anything on your timing.

The role of the GAL seems quite misunderstood here, and that's too bad. The attitudes I see from parents here, if presented to the GAL on the case, will likely only prove negatives in your case.

SanAntonioSoccerMom's picture

I think, at a minimum, people

I think, at a minimum, people expect GALs to do their jobs, you know, what they are getting paid to do. Actually what I am paying you (generic you) to do. I cannot imagine a GAL being effective in protecting children without contacting any and everyone possible in order to get the entire scope of the background/story.

And if my lawyer calling you (generic you) "pesters you" then that is too bad.

I am also alarmed that you do nothing until the week of the case. WOW, the fate of children potentially lie in your hands and you do nothing until the week of the case? Even in long distance custody cases as the one in the OPs post? Yikes. Speaks volumes of our family court system.

Keep calm and carry on...

sroutlaw's picture

The job "you" are paying me

The job "you" are paying me to do is statutorily mandated, and it isn't a client-attorney relationship with "you." My independent judgment means I will investigate what I feel needs investigated, and it may or may not ever get back to you that I did so, since most of the people I talk to agree to talk to me confidentially without discussing with you what or even THAT I spoke to them. It will all turn up, at least what is relevant, in my recommendation - but you very likely won't know about it before, since I am not your attorney. I technically an attorney of the COURT, not of the parents or the child per se - I represent the child's best interest, not the child him or her self.

As for you "paying me" it is generally nowhere near the attorney's hourly rate in your area, and in fact you are not paying me at your will be at the DIRECTION of the court - not quite the same...

If your lawyer pesters me I will likely ignore him until I am ready to deal with him, when it is timely for the actual case. Since in any normal week I have twenty to one hundred cases going to court, and yours is not happening next week, I won't be messing with it until it is time. Probably the week before your court date. Until then, you are a blip on the radar, and as sad as that is, you will need to blame a system that does not pay well, heaps work on to too few heads at a cutrate speed, and a legislature which allows this to happen. Go take a gander at your supreme court's GAL standards, and then at the statutes of your state which mandate what a GAL MUST do and what they MAY do and then carefully read through the lines about what they don't have to do (contact people because you say so).

Please do not be mistaken into believing that since you paid some small amount - what, maybe $1500? In most markets that is five hours of an attorney's normal pay - including court appearances and waiting for the same; interviews with you and your child and the other parent; home visits if that applies; interviewing social workers, teachers principals, etc; filing recommendations; writing recommendations; phone calls; attending any conferences that occur about your case (some you will never know even happen btw).

And that is if you are fortunate enough to make that kind of money for an appointment. I work the child abuse and neglect docket, have four times the number of cases that is ethical for an attorney, am paid less than 40K a year and that's with no benefits and paying my own taxes. I work my job because I LOVE THE KIDS. I really don't enjoy the parents who spend much of their time (and waste a lot of mine) trying to volley and gesture and push their own positions. I am very very capable of figuring out who is what and what is needed, without talking to the your mom and your neighbor and the man who saw you and your kid at Wal-mart last week. I stick to professionals - teachers, doctors, principals, social workers, pastors - because those people are not easily fooled and have a more professional role with your child. And oh. I trust your kid, when they talk to me alone (and they all do, because THEY are my priority - I visit them at school and you will never even know it in many cases).

So, give me twenty thousand names of people who will vouch for what a great god-fearing lady or gentleman you are, and I will be unlikely to call any of them. I am also not required to do so. I will get to the truth I need to get to. I'm not an idiot or a trained monkey. I know what the state requires of me and suggest you find that information yourself so you can have an adequate understanding of the GAL in your case and what is actually legally required of them. I think it will be eye opening.

sroutlaw's picture

I am a stepmom also.

I am a stepmom also.

sroutlaw's picture

SD (15) has just been

SD (15) has just been diagnosed with conduct disorder, and has committed violence against my child, and against her dad and against her own BM as well. As far as BM, I doubt we would have been best buds ever, but all the adults in this picture are attempting to stay on the same page and work together to get SD help. So yes, there are some issues for sure.

Other SD is fine, and we just babysat my step GD last night.

twopines's picture

This is an interesting

This is an interesting thread. I'm VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY thankful my kid will never EVER EVER have a GAL. What a freaking nightmare.

“The witch in Hansel and Gretel -- she's very misunderstood. I mean, the woman builds her dream house and these brats come along and start eating it.” Miranda - Sex and the City

sroutlaw's picture

I personally wish no kids

I personally wish no kids ever needed them. When a GAL is appointed in either domestic or CA/N cases, it generally means the adults in the child's life have failed the child in some way, either by straight out abuse/neglect or by failing to put the child ahead of themselves. It's pretty sad really. It would be best if the only kids who had GALs were the ones who were mentally ill, or suffering actual abuse/neglect. In most cases when a judge appoints a GAL in a domestic case, he or she is really saying, this mess is so f'd up, I don't want to deal with it any more than the kid does, but it sure doesn't rise to abuse or neglect. So here, GAL, you get in the trenches and figure out what this kid needs to get this case out of my docket.

ItAlmostWorked's picture

So, you already assume the

So, you already assume the parents have failed the kid in some way. I thought GALs were required to be impartial and be a voice for the child. If you begin with the assumption both parents failed, I am glad my kids won't ever need a GAL as well.

sroutlaw's picture

I'm never appointed to cases

I'm never appointed to cases where to parents are doing great resolving their issues for the kids' sake. Those cases don't need GALs. So it's just a fact. Normal kids with healthy family systems don't get GALs. Somewhere along the way a family has failed if I have to be inserted into their family/child's life. It's just a fact. Not a doomed to death scenario but a definite sign that the family requires intervention by outside parties. It's sad when parents cannot parent without me. It's sad for kids. So i hope you never require a GAL appointment too. Best practices are to have a businesslike relationship with your ex, get a mediator to
Help you resolve issues you disagree on, and don't concern yourself with his or her personal life/new partner/etc. We all know you don't love each other anymore. Just love your kid enough to remember that this other person is the one YOU chose to parent with.

Disneyfan's picture

I love your last sentence.

I love your last sentence.

ItAlmostWorked's picture

Agreed. My own divorce was

Agreed. My own divorce was about as amicable as they come but I know of a couple instances when one parent's mental illness ( hospitalized for safety a few times-severe) interfered with parenting but the other parent went above and beyond. One in particular definitely did not fail his kids. He stood up for his kids and raised them practically on his own at a time it was rare for Dads getting custody.

Blanket statements that parents are failures make me wonder if you are burnt out. I know I could not do your job. Thanks for standing up for kids!

OhMeOhMy's picture

Obviously i was asking

Obviously i was asking because I don't KNOW how the gal works. That's why I was asking for reasons why the gal wasn't interviewing the people he asked us to list.... Because I didn't know if that's normal or not. Our kids are in an abusive household, I'm sorry if it comes across as we are pushing to get this completed but every single day our stomachs are in knots because we worry about them : /
believe me, It seems I have Googled and read every single mention of guardians and experience with gals there are... It's a tough situation to be in. It's hard to feel like what you is not enough to solve the problem... I'm just trying to understand.
Also we haven't had a court date set bc of the gal needing to do his work. Originally the gal was supposed to set or help set the continued court date when he began his work in November. Thanks to BM stalling, nothing began until mid March.
And srout, I emailed you on here before I read your replies on this post.

OhMeOhMy's picture

And we have done everything

And we have done everything asked of us and everything we can think of to support our side and for it not to be just words when we speak to him. We just have no idea if he hasn't contacted anyone because we did such a complete job at proving our side or if he hasn't contacted anyone because there is no way in Hell we will get the kids. It's 345 am and I can't sleep because my mind is racing over this whole situation. My husband calls maybe once every 2 weeks, I don't see that as overly aggressive... It's so hard. And its harder on my husband. I do understand he has many cases he is working on at the same time, and that we are paying much less than the rest. I get it. I appreciate him so much for what he is doing. But for us? This is our life. Surely he would be somewhat understanding of why we care so much.

OhMeOhMy's picture

Error

Error

OhMeOhMy's picture

Error again...

Error again...

OhMeOhMy's picture

...and again, sorry all.

...and again, sorry all.

OhMeOhMy's picture

Phone went crazy sorry for

Phone went crazy sorry for the multiple posts