Where there are minor children and the parties cannot agree on custody or parenting time, the court will often appoint a Guardian ad Litem to investigate or evaluate the circumstances and make recommendations to the court as to what custody or parenting arrangement is in the “best interests of the child.” The court is not required to follow the recommendations of the GAL, but often does.
A GAL is either an attorney or a mental health professional who has been specially trained and certified by the court. The investigation generally involves the GAL meeting with parties, children, teachers, therapists, other family members, neighbors or friends, and may involve visits to one or both parents’ homes. In most instances, the parties are ordered to share the cost of the GAL. Attorney Linda Minkoff has been certified by the court as a GAL for cases in Middlesex, Essex, Norfolk, Suffolk and Worcester Counties.