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Thread: GAL Report

  1. #1
    futuredust is offline Senior Member
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    GAL Report

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? TN


    When a GAL makes a recommendation for a change in custody, do judges more often then not go with the recommendation of the GAL?

    Dad admitted drug use as well as withholding visitation/phone calls, and step mother admitted hitting the kids and often fighting with the kids. Dad also admitted he did not notify or consult about moving the kids to another state. And that he never notifies me in regard to anything in their lives,medical, school, or anything else.

    This was the GALS summary and recommendation:

    In addition to the lack of contact between the children and mother, father not having consulted mother about any major decisions affecting the children is not in the best interest of the children.

    It is apparent that father is trying to isolate children from mother due to his anger toward her and this is harming the children

    Finally, it appears father has allowed the tension between stepmother and children to become more serious then it should be. Guardian ad litem would add that stepmother seems to have made every effort to cope with the situation but is extremely frustrated.

    Based on the foregoing, guardian ad litem recommends that the court approve the parenting plan submitted by mother."What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)?
  2. #2
    seniorjudge is offline Senior Member
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    Q: When a GAL makes a recommendation for a change in custody, do judges more often then not go with the recommendation of the GAL?

    A: I don't know that anyone keeps statistics on that. But judges generally give the GAL's report a lot of weight (if the GAL has a good reputation).
    There are two rules for success:

    (1) Never tell everything you know.
  3. #3
    futuredust is offline Senior Member
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    The judge chose the GAL, he originally asked my atty if there was one we wanted to use, then said never mind I am going to use Mr X.
  4. #4
    BL
    BL is offline Senior Member
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    Well that would be a good sign .
  5. #5
    LdiJ is offline Senior Member
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    I suspect that the GAL's recommendation is going to hold a lot of weight, particularly due to the nature of the GAL's findings.

    Its very bad for dad that the GAL was so blunt about dad trying to isolate the children from mom.
  6. #6
    futuredust is offline Senior Member
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    So we went to the trial/hearing on Tuesday.

    Ex ended up admitting drug use in the home, kids failing school, kids using drugs, he hates me and moved away to keep me from the kids. He has withheld phone contact on numerous occasions. Has never notified me about anything in the kids life. Said he wished I did not exist.. step has physically abused the kids. And he lost his cool on the stand, big time. He tried to keep the GAL's report from being admitted because he did not agree with it and said the GAL made it up and lied.

    When my ex questioned me he had more statements then questions and had to be told to stop making statements several times. He even told me if it were up to him I would never see the kids or have anything to do with them, the judge told him he would not berate me in that court.

    GAL said the court should approve my parenting plan and the kids should be in my custody and care..

    Ex lost it again in his second closing trying to give the judge letters from friends among other things.. judge told him he missed that chance. See when the judge told him to call his first witness he sat there a little bit then decided not to call anyone and told the judge he had nothing to submit to the court. Ex threw his hands up in prayer and was shaking his fisted hands in the air saying "It's been prayed on, don't take my kids away".. blah blah ..

    Judge said he would let us know... court over.

    How long does this usually take?
  7. #7
    LdiJ is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by futuredust View Post
    So we went to the trial/hearing on Tuesday.

    Ex ended up admitting drug use in the home, kids failing school, kids using drugs, he hates me and moved away to keep me from the kids. He has withheld phone contact on numerous occasions. Has never notified me about anything in the kids life. Said he wished I did not exist.. step has physically abused the kids. And he lost his cool on the stand, big time. He tried to keep the GAL's report from being admitted because he did not agree with it and said the GAL made it up and lied.

    When my ex questioned me he had more statements then questions and had to be told to stop making statements several times. He even told me if it were up to him I would never see the kids or have anything to do with them, the judge told him he would not berate me in that court.

    GAL said the court should approve my parenting plan and the kids should be in my custody and care..

    Ex lost it again in his second closing trying to give the judge letters from friends among other things.. judge told him he missed that chance. See when the judge told him to call his first witness he sat there a little bit then decided not to call anyone and told the judge he had nothing to submit to the court. Ex threw his hands up in prayer and was shaking his fisted hands in the air saying "It's been prayed on, don't take my kids away".. blah blah ..

    Judge said he would let us know... court over.

    How long does this usually take?
    If that's the way that it really went in court, it may not take too long. Dad really made a total fool of himself.
  8. #8
    futuredust is offline Senior Member
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    Thank you.

    It actually went worse then that.. I was in disbelief at just how angry and irate he was in court. He held up the notice to exercise visitation that I sent him certified mail, which simply said as per section x.x.x of parenting plan I will be exercising my court ordered visitation on this date and time.. as proof of "the crap she pulls to make our lives miserable". Visitation he denied and told the kids that the day a letter came with 150.00 in it to pay for his gas to bring them, was the day I would see them.

    He got mad at my atty for asking him questions and then would not answer, after waiting my atty said.. "that was a question".. he sat there a little bit then leaned forward and yelled his "yes" answer into the microphone..putting his mouth right on it.

    I was actually surprised the judge did not rule the day we were there, I thought thats what happened.. it did in my sisters case, in another state.

    The GAL told the kids after court they would probably be coming to live with me and it could be a week or two before we knew.. My atty said it could be four weeks and the judge could split the decision. I will have the kids during the second and third week, returning them two days before the fourth week from Christmas visitation, that the judge told my ex I would have before court was over.
  9. #9
    LdiJ is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by futuredust View Post
    Thank you.

    It actually went worse then that.. I was in disbelief at just how angry and irate he was in court. He held up the notice to exercise visitation that I sent him certified mail, which simply said as per section x.x.x of parenting plan I will be exercising my court ordered visitation on this date and time.. as proof of "the crap she pulls to make our lives miserable". Visitation he denied and told the kids that the day a letter came with 150.00 in it to pay for his gas to bring them, was the day I would see them.

    He got mad at my atty for asking him questions and then would not answer, after waiting my atty said.. "that was a question".. he sat there a little bit then leaned forward and yelled his "yes" answer into the microphone..putting his mouth right on it.

    I was actually surprised the judge did not rule the day we were there, I thought thats what happened.. it did in my sisters case, in another state.

    The GAL told the kids after court they would probably be coming to live with me and it could be a week or two before we knew.. My atty said it could be four weeks and the judge could split the decision. I will have the kids during the second and third week, returning them two days before the fourth week from Christmas visitation, that the judge told my ex I would have before court was over.
    Many judges do not announce their decision in the open courtroom. Its also possible that your judge was concerned about a violent reaction from your ex, and chose to to announce his ruling.

    However, your ex certainly admitted that he had no intention of fostering any kind of relationship between you and the children...and that was STUPID on his part.
  10. #10
    CourtClerk is offline Senior Member
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    If your judge was smart (and mine has done this exact thing), he would order an immediate change of custody WHILE you had the children during Christmas visitation.
  11. #11
    futuredust is offline Senior Member
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    Will we go back to court or will the judge send the decision to my atty and the GAL?
  12. #12
    LdiJ is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by futuredust View Post
    Will we go back to court or will the judge send the decision to my atty and the GAL?
    The judge will send the decision to your attorney and to dad. Maybe to the GAL as well.
  13. #13
    futuredust is offline Senior Member
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    Thank you.. next question.

    Can the judge change the proposed parenting plan and order what he feels is appropriate. Our submitted parenting plan was standard, even though there is a distance. I was willing to offer to pay for at least half if not all of a hotel room so the ex could drive here to see the kids and stay the first and third weekends for visitation. I figured it would keep the kids off the road traveling for 16-20 hours over a 48 hour period. My atty said we would not be making that offer outright but if visitation was addressed he would submit my offer.

    But since there was admitted drug use by my ex and the kids testified to the presence I don't know if the judge would order supervised or drug counseling .. or any of one hundred other things.

    My ex also admitted he did not seek out the proper medical or mental care for our daughter after the rape. I was questioned by the GAL and my atty and I told them all of my children would be in therapy should they live with me. I have already made the contacts needed and found them a therapist here should they be placed with me. As well as tutors for school to bring them up to speed on their education, my boys failed English and are bordering on failing math and science.
  14. #14
    CourtClerk is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by futuredust View Post
    Thank you.. next question.

    Can the judge change the proposed parenting plan and order what he feels is appropriate.
    Absolutely....
  15. #15
    futuredust is offline Senior Member
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    We will be 7 weeks out tomorrow, and I am about to go crazy with the wait.

    Dad has taken the thought that since it has been so long, no way will the kids come with me. So things are getting worse in the home. My daughter is now terribly depressed because dad is angry with her, he told her the rape was her fault and it makes him mad that he is now driving her to therapy. To make matters worse my daughter told her therapist what dad said, and the therapist tried to talk to dad about it.. leading to daughter being grounded.

    My son is still using drugs, and is now hanging out with gang members, his sister is very concerned about his safety and of course my ex will not get on the phone with me to discuss any of this.

    Dad was given notice that they have to be out of the rental they are in by April 1st. And they don't have the money to find another place since he lost his employment last October. My kids have told me they are worried about where they will live and what they will do.

    Is there anything that can be done at this point to make this go any faster.

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