Guardian Opinions: Are They Useful In A Custody Case?

Law Blog

When going through a custody case, the judge has many pieces of evidence and notes to comb through in order to best determine where the children should live. If a child is cared for by a guardian, they will often take their opinions into consideration during recommendations in temporary hearings, in preliminary reports, or to the parties involved. However, many states will prohibit guardian opinions in the final custody recommendations.

Still, the opinion of the guardian is still heard at some point in a case. It can have some impact on the results. The following are some examples of when it can be helpful and when it can be problematic for one or both parents:  

When Guardian Opinions Are Helpful

Guardian opinions are most helpful when they do not include any issues regarding the custody determination or visitation. They are best when they only discuss the facts that are based only on the observation of the guardian. For instance, if a guardian claims one parent has a problem with alcohol and they have the information to back it up, it can be useful.

These types of opinions can sometimes help resolve a case if the opinion is demonstrated at trial. Without evidence, however, it can be seen as subjective or as a way to make one parent look bad in the case. That is not useful, and can actually backfire.

If a guardian provides an opinion of this nature with no proof or evidence, the accused person can stop cooperating in the case. It can even result in that party to go into attack mode, accusing the guardian of being biased. The opinion can then be thrown out altogether, having wasted everyone's time.

When Guardian Opinions Are Not Helpful

One of the most unhelpful issues when it comes to guardian opinions is when it comes to custody and visitation issues. While the guardian can discuss how they feel about the situation, they can do so without providing his or her opinion. Guardians who say that the current visitation schedule seems to be working well is using his or her platform in a good way. If they notice a problem with the visitation, they should state the concerns as facts without providing an opinion.

However, guardians who try to say when which parent should have the custody at what time are going to cause problems between the parents and can cause the case to fall apart if they decide to go to war over the opinion of the guardian.

Overall, any opinion that provides a summary of the evidence of issues concerning the custody can be useful. Any other opinion of guardians is not especially helpful and should be avoided if necessary.

For more information about fighting custody battles, consult with a company like Cragun Law Firm.


30 August 2017

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