Determining what is best for a child’s care is one of the most sensitive topics in any family’s divorce. Mediation or a clear parental agreement can be arrived at with time and paperwork in a straightforward, if not always simple, manner. In the case of a child’s well-being, especially in more complicated cases, it may be necessary for the courts to arrange for a representative whose sole purpose is to do thorough research and determine what is best for the child.

According to Rhode Island law, courts can assign a guardian ad litem (GAL) at their own discretion if they feel it will help resolve parental conflicts around custody and parenting time. It can be assigned for many reasons and even requested by the parents, but a GAL’s purpose is to ensure a fair and reasonable ruling with as much information available as possible.

As listed in FindLaw’s breakdown of Rhode Island custody law, there are many factors that come into consideration. A GAL’s task is not to represent the child in court but to determine favorable custody for the child’s well-being by interviewing them, the parents, and the family all at once in order to see how all members interact. They will conduct a thorough investigation of any pertinent factors or sources and submit an oral or written report to the courts with recommendations regarding custody.

GAL’s are able to get to the bottom of complex issues regarding child custody. It is in the best interest of the child that all factors are considered and in emotional cases like divorce, an impartial arbiter can cut through the confusion.