Even though the pending high-asset divorce of Ken and Anne Griffin will be handled by a family law code slightly different from our own, the main contentions in their case are ones that could easily happen in any state, including here in Texas. From disputes regarding property division and the validity of the couple’s prenuptial agreement, the new debate over child custody may be a familiar one for many of our readers.
It’s how the couple is planning to resolve this issue though that may come as a surprise to some of our readers. It may even be a choice that many here in Texas do not know they can make as well.
As you may have already heard, the Griffins agreed this month to get a guardian ad litem for their three children to help the couple resolve an important issue: should the couple share custody or should the mother be granted sole custody? Using the guardian ad litem’s knowledge of the law, the couple hopes to glean an answer that is in their children’s best interest.
In general, a guardian ad litem can be appointed to a minor in a court case to help ensure that decisions are made in the best interest of the child. They usually make suggestions to the courts about how to handle the child’s case after doing an investigation into the child’s situation and evaluating the needs of the child.
Guardian ad litems are important in divorce and child custody cases because they provide an unbiased assessment of the situation and help the courts make decisions that are truly in a child’s best interest. They also help to reduce disputes that may otherwise lengthen litigation and put unnecessary emotional strain on the child.
Even though Illinois has different laws regarding divorce and child custody, it’s worth pointing out that Texas also allows the use of a guardian ad litem in family law cases. In fact, it may be a resource some of our Dallas readers may consider using now after having read this post.
Sources: The Chicago Tribune, “3 Griffin kids get a lawyer in billionaire couple’s divorce,” Becky Yerak, Sept. 12, 2014
The Texas Family Code, “Title IV, Chapter 107, Section 107.001,” Accessed Sept. 15, 2014