Guardian Ad Litem
When custody issues arise between parents and they cannot settle those issues themselves, courts often rely on either the Family Relations Office or a third party, called a guardian ad litem, Latin for “guardian for the suit” and often shortened to “G.A.L”, to conduct an investigation and make a recommendation as to what is in the best interest of the child(ren). The GAL meets with the parents, children, and any necessary collateral contacts such as doctors, teachers, therapists, etc. before making his or her recommendation. More importantly, the GAL often tries to act as the mediator between parents to try and come up with an amicable resolution before matters simply get put before a judge.
Attorney Raymond has been appointed as a guardian ad litem in the Bridgeport, New Haven and Milford Superior Courts to represent the best interests of children with very difficult issues concerning custody and parenting time. As a parent of two, he has the first-hand experience to understand the developmental needs of children, and he understands how to investigate these matters with delicacy so that the children are affected as little as possible throughout the process. As a family/matrimonial attorney, he knows what the parents are going through when child custody issues arise in order to get to the bottom of the real issues and make recommendations that are in the children’s best interest.
What Sets Attorney Raymond Apart as a GAL is his desire to not only investigate the issues but to assist the parties in dealing with those issues. For example, while some GAL’s may simply watch as parents make poor choices that negatively affect the children in order to strengthen his/her (the GAL’s) position, Attorney Raymond tries to help those parents to understand how their mistakes affect the child and how to better address those situations in the future. Custody matters are not about litigation posturing and “building a case,” they are meant to get to what is in the child’s best interest, which cannot be done when everyone is focused on “winning”.
Attorney Raymond has substantial experience serving as GAL in “relocation” cases, which are cases in which one parent wishes to move away from the other in a manner that substantially impacts what parenting time the other parent will have. In an opinion from the Regional Family Trial Docket in July of 2019 from a case that ended after a four-day trial in which Attorney Raymond served as GAL, the Court wrote:
The parties requested a guardian ad litem (GAL) for their daughter during these proceedings and have agreed to have Attorney Tyler Raymond serve in that capacity. […] In addition to the GAL’s typical responsibilities, he also traveled to North Carolina to investigate the situation at home, school, and the overall strength of the environment.” […] The court finds the GAL to be credible, informative, thorough, and persistent in the fulfillment of his duties.“
See Davis v. Campbell, D.N. FBT-FA17-5033151-S, Memorandum of Decision issued 07/15/2019. The Court went on to adopt Attorney Raymond’s recommendation that the child relocate in that matter.
Attorney Raymond accepts both private and court-ordered GAL appointments in the Bridgeport, Milford, New Haven and Waterbury superior courts. Attorney Raymond is also more than willing to discuss accepting cases on a “sliding scale” when the parents are unable to afford his normal rate.
Attorney for Minor Children
The distinction between a GAL and an attorney for minor children (AMC) is subtle, but their roles are quite different. While a GAL is appointed to represent the best interest of the child, an AMC represents the child. While it is less common for the court to appoint an AMC than a GAL, an AMC may be necessary where the child wants something that may not be in his or her best interest, which often occurs when parents dispute over the custody and parenting time of a teenager.
Attorney Raymond knows how to talk to children of all ages in a manner that makes them feel comfortable. More importantly, Attorney Raymond knows how to effectively represent children’s wants in a manner that their parents and the Court will understand.