Family Law

Task force considers whether guardians ad litem are helpful in custody disputes, given the costs


A Connecticut task force on custody disputes is considering whether appointing guardians ad litem to represent children is in families’ best interests, considering the costs involved.

Peter Szymonik, a single father, told the task force that he paid two guardians ad litem more than $20,000 in his divorce, the Hartford Courant reports. He supports tracking payments to guardians ad litem

Comprised of politicians, lawyers with child custody experience as well as attorneys who serve as guardians ad litem, the task force is also studying whether state judges comply with a statute that requires they consider children’s best interest in custody cases.

“We’re here to look for solutions and see if we can improve the system that everybody is complaining about,” said state Rep. Minnie Gonzalez, who is also a task force member.

Another issue being considered is whether Connecticut should adopt a presumption that shared custody is in a child’s best interest. While some testified that children need two parents, others expressed concern about shared custody in relationships with domestic violence histories.

Recommendations from the task force are slated to go the state legislature’s Judiciary Committee by Feb. 1.

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