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Does the court usually go with guardian ad litems review?

Wilmington, OH |

Going through a custody case, the mother is in WA state, the father is in OH. A Guardian Ad Litem was appointed to the case and when the report came out, everything was in the father's favor, even though there was no home study or interviews done with him since he is in OH. The report stated the mother was not bonded with the children as well as being inattentive with them which was seen at her home visit, her boyfriend has charges of domestic violence and drug abuse was also mention on both the boyfriend and mothers part. She has hired an attorney but after everything in the report I would be shocked if a judge gave her full custody, but since she hired an attorney we are nervous some strings could be pulled. Is any of this in the fathers favor?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. It certainly sounds as if the report is in father's favor. However at trial that can be torn down if the author never interviewed father. I strongly suggest that you seek an attorney in the area where the matter is pending. A consultation with a reputable attorney will provide some guidance on the weight the local court may put on an investigation especially in light of the "fact" father was not interviewed. These matters can get ugly fast. Do not delay in getting counsel. You should act promptly to obtain legal representation.


  2. Attorney Helfrich is correct. You should at least consult with an attorney in the area of the hearing. The Courts generally rely upon the GAL's report, however, the other attorney can cross-examine the GAL and show that the GAL did not do a complete study. Regardless of whether the GAL's report is discredited or not, the ultimate decision is up to the Magistrate or Judge - and I have seen cases decided that went contrary to the recommendations of the GAL. I doubt that it would be a matter of "strings" being pulled. It is more a function of the evidence being presented in an effective manner.

    IMPORTANT LEGAL NOTICE: Mr. Piper's response set forth above is not legal advice and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. Mr. Piper's responses to all questions posted on AVVO are intended to provide general information based upon the his understanding of the facts stated in the question, and are for the general educational purposes of the public, not any specific individual. Also, a particular case may involve additional facts and circumstances which might invalidate some or all of the concepts provided in this answer and therefore you should not rely upon this answer in any individual situation. In order to offer legal advice about this or any similar situation, a qualified attorney would likely need to consider many factors not stated in the question and would need to question the potential client in order to clarify the specific facts operable in that case. If you would like to obtain specific legal advice about this issue, it is recommended that you contact an attorney in your state. Mr. Piper is licensed to practice law in the State of Ohio, and may be contacted directly via email at: piperlawoffice@gmail.com.


  3. The GAL's report will have an impact on the Judge's decision but it is not controlling. Other issues can be brought out to show evidence of good character traits of father as well as lack of investigation by the GAL on the father's side, to show the report is somewhat incomplete. Having some independent and reliable person (In SC, I sometime retain a retired DSS case worker that did home studies) to go to dad's home and make report etc. and come to court to show why this is a good environment. Not sure all the aspects of the laws in the state your in, but GAL's report does not make you DOA, but needs to be explored and the holes in the report revealed (if they exist).

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