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What is the Difference Between a Parenting Coordinator and a Guardian ad Litem?

Often, people confuse the role of a parenting coordinator with that of a guardian ad litem. While both are court appointed officers with certain powers and responsibilities, ultimately, they serve different purposes and parties.

A parenting coordinator is an impartial professional appointed by the court who helps separated or divorced parents to improve their co-parenting skills and solve problems involving their children and high conflict custody disputes. Usually this person is either an attorney or a court counselor.

You can also opt to hire a parenting coordinator as an alternative to resolving parenting disputes in court through litigation. Keep in mind that the parenting coordinator has the power to review the family’s history and observe the child(ren) as well as conduct any other research he/she feels necessary to better inform his/her judgment.

A guardian ad litem also has a lot of power and rights in order to be able to gather the information they need, but their primary concern is the best interest of the child they are representing. The guardian is appointed by the court to inform the court and judge about the child and recommend how custody should be divided and visitation awarded.

The main distinction is that a guardian ad litem has only one factor in mind when making recommendations to the court: what he/she believes will serve the child best. This is what the judge wants to know, but judges do not have time to gather all of the necessary details to make that determination themselves. The court will appoint a guardian in all cases it feels it is necessary, and you can contest the custody preference of a child over the age of 14 by asking for the court to appoint a guardian ad litem.

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