Letting Down Their Guard: What Guardians Ad Litem Should Know About Domestic Violence in Child Custody Disputes

By December 17, 2014 April 17th, 2020 No Comments

Children who are exposed to adult domestic violence frequently suffer long-term negative consequences as a result. Consequently, courts and legislatures have begun to consider the perpetration of domestic abuse as an important factor in private child custody disputes.

Yet guardians ad litem, who are appointed with increasing regularity in these cases, are often inadequately prepared to recognize and address this complicated issue. This Note looks at the historical use of guardians ad litem, as well as the current understanding of connections between domestic violence and child custody disputes, and concludes that with adequate standards and guidelines in place, guardians ad litem could help protect children who are exposed to domestic violence from further harm.

The Note concludes with a set of recommended uniform guidelines that could be adapted to each state’s particular system of guardian ad litem use to protect children from further exposure to domestic abuse. [Read More – PDF]