IfI already have primary custody settled 7 years ago how, doI get a gaurdian ad litem for my kids and make changes to the custody agreement?

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IfI already have primary custody settled 7 years ago how, doI get a gaurdian ad litem for my kids and make changes to the custody agreement?

He disappears for months at a time. Rarely pays the support ordered. And calls and harasses me when he decides to see them. He threatens me and tries to bully me. I stay reasonable but I’m tired of the verbal and emotional abuse after all these years. He lies to everyone, saying I have kept him away. Which I have never done. He’s threatened t take them away from me, which I’m sure he can’t. But I want the abuse to stop and I want to know things are done in my kids best interest and not out of haste. My 8 year old doesn’t want to go.

Asked on December 5, 2011 under Family Law, Missouri

Answers:

L.P., Member, Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Thank you forsubmitting your question regarding obtaining a guardian ad litem for your children.  Unfortunately your situation is not that uncommon, and often the courts need to get involved and appoint a guardian ad litem to represent children in parenting disputes and divorce proceedings.  Guardian ad litems can also be utilized in other court matters such as grandparents arguing over custody or orders of protection.  The guardian ad litem is present to protect the interests of the child. 

When a relationship is so tumultuous, such as the one you have with your children’s father, you should be sure to have child custody agreements and child support orders in place to ensure that the other party will be held legally accountable to follow the guidelines and obligations spelled out in the child custody agreement and child support order.  When a party chooses to not comply with either of these legally binding contracts, the other party has legal remedies that they can pursue against the non-compliant party.  In some cases, the court will hold the non-complying party in contempt which could result in the other party serving jail time.  If you believe that this action could lead to further emotional abuse to either you and/or your children, then you may want to consider seeking an order of protection. 

Some states will appoint a guardian ad litem, but may have the parents bear the costs of the appointment.  In some other states, the courts will absorb the costs for a guardian ad litem, because the court wants to ensure that children are protected in these disputes.  If you need further guidance with your situation, you may want to contact a family law attorney in your area that can give you the specific regulations for your state.

 


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