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Using a guardian ad litem to protect your child's best interests

Many divorcing parents here in Washington may not think too much about the plights of other divorcing couples in other states across the nation.  This is usually because most people know that not all laws governing divorce are the same from state to state.

But if we look at a case out of Illinois, our Spokane readers will see that our laws may not be that different from other states, especially from this particular one in the Midwest.  By looking at what one out-of-state couple has decided to do in their own divorce, our readers may discover one way to ensure the protection of a child's best interest during the divorce process.

Some of you may be familiar with the pending high-asset divorce of hedge fund operator Ken Griffin from his wife of 11 years.  The couple filed for divorce in July, sparking contentious disputes about the couple's prenuptial agreement, how to divide assets, and now, most recently, who should have custody of their three children.

As you may already know, a contentious divorce can be incredibly stressful and overwhelming on divorcing couples and their children.  The Griffins are no different, which is likely why both agreed to appoint a guardian ad litem to represent their children during the divorce process.

For those who do not know, a guardian ad litem represents minor children during court processes such as divorce or child custody disputes.  These oftentimes court-appointed advocates help protect the rights of a child by looking into each case, questioning both parents and children, then submitting a recommendation that is in the child' best interest.

Just like in Illinois, family law courts here in Washington also allow the use of a guardian ad litem in divorce and child custody cases.  Because of their legal knowledge and their responsibility to protect a child's best interest, they can be incredibly useful in particularly contentious cases.

Sources: The Chicago Tribune, "3 Griffin kids get a lawyer in billionaire couple's divorce," Becky, Yerak, Sept. 12, 2014

The Bloomberg, "Kenneth Griffin’s Wife Seeks Child Custody Amid Divorce,"Joel Rosenblatt, Sept. 2, 2014

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