FAMILY LAW INFORMATION
following is provided for informational purposes only. It is not meant
to be comprehensive or to be interpreted as legal advice. It also shall
not be interpreted in such a manner as to form an attorney-client
For such advice, consult an experienced Family Law attorney.
A guardianship petition is typically brought by a person seeking custody of a minor child who is not the parent of that child, and is governed by Chapter 201 of Massachusetts General Laws, "Guardians and Conservators." Family members (other than the mother or father) are often appointed as Guardians to protect the interests of a child and pursue benefits (including child support) to which a child may be entitled. The court may also appoint an attorney or Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) as Guardian ad Litem to represent the best interests of the minor child(ren) in a divorce action until discharged by the court. Such an appointment may occur at the request of either parent or upon the court's own motion.
The duties of a Guardian ad Litem are varied but cover certain basic functions, depending upon the age(s) of the child(ren) and the specific circumstances of the case. These duties include:
- Interviewing the child(ren) and observing each parent with the child(ren);
- Reviewing pleadings and consulting with each parent's attorney as to position and issues;
- Investigating and interviewing all important persons;
- Obtaining records (school, criminal, medical, psychological, child protective agency);
- Performing home visits;
- Evaluating the potential need for psychological evaluations or counseling, and filing a motion requesting the same if determined necessary;
- Communicating with the Protective Services worker, where applicable; and
- Attending all depositions concerning the best interest of the child(ren).
The Guardian ad Litem has the right to file motions, to review all confidential records involving the child(ren), and to conduct discovery and examine witnesses at trial.
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