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What is the difference between guardian ad litem and a custody evaluator, and why does it matter?

On Behalf of | Dec 27, 2022 | Firm News |

Those of you who have been involved in custody cases may have heard of guardian ad litems, and custody evaluators. Both do essentially the same work, speak with minor children, parents, and others involved in custody cases, conduct investigations, and make reports as to what is best for the children involved in custody and parenting time disputes.

How are they different? Guardians are chosen by the judge, you do not pick who is your guardian, the court does that. Guardians focus on cases where there is abuse or neglect, they are not available in most cases where there is not abuse or neglect.

Custody evaluators are chosen by the parties involved, you, and the other party get to decide who your evaluator will be. Custody evaluators generally cost more, but, because you can choose them, you can pick someone who has a reputation for doing decent work and being fair to everyone. With guardians, you may be appointed a good one, or you may not, you have no control over who you get.

If you can afford a custody evaluator, I strongly advise working with one as opposed to a guardian. You want to be able to select someone who will do decent work and treat everyone fairly. Judges almost always go with what custody evaluators, or guardians recommend, with the future of your kids at stake, you do not want to cut corners.


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