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Guardian ad Litem Success Story 12

Guardian ad Litem’s recommendations used by court to determine sole custody of toddler-aged child to be given to her mother and supervised parenting time for father.

Kids’ Voice was appointed by the court to serve as GAL for Lydia, a toddler-aged girl. Lydia’s mother, Allison, had filed for divorce from Lydia’s father, Steven, after Allison discovered Steven taking pictures of a neighbor undressing. Andrea, the Kids’ Voice attorney, assigned the case to a GAL volunteer who worked as a technician at Riley Hospital. When the GAL started his investigation, Steven informed him that the incident with the neighbor was a big misunderstanding and that Allison had overreacted.

Steven admitted to the GAL that the police had arrived at his home after Allison caught him taking the pictures, but said that the police laughed and did not press any charges or find any reason for concern. Steven had been receiving court-ordered supervised parenting time at his parents’ home and requested full custody of Lydia, or at least unsupervised, liberal parenting-time rights. Steven’s parents agreed with their son that the incident was a big misunderstanding, and Steven’s father described Steven’s behavior as “just being a typical guy.”

The GAL was able to locate and contact the lead detective who had investigated the incident with the neighbor. The GAL discovered that the investigation had not been dropped, but was still pending because investigators were still in the process of recovering dozens of pictures Steven had taken of the neighbor, that he had deleted. The detective further informed the GAL that the neighbor was a 14-year-old female, and that Steven had committed similar acts before in other counties. The detective anticipated that serious criminal charges would be filed against Steven.

Andrea filed the GAL’s report and presented the GAL’s testimony at the divorce custody hearing. The court agreed with the GAL’s recommendation that Allison have sole custody of Lydia, and that Steven’s parenting time be supervised only at an agency because neither he nor his parents were willing to acknowledge the severity of his issues.