{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "New to family law and just got my first absolutely devastating (for my client) GAL report. Any good coping strategies for this sort of thing?", "post_id": "5ebeb8bab3898e001aef9455", "reply_count": 13, "vote_count": 3, "bowl_id": "5dd755f2232d3e001a6b51c0", "bowl_name": "Family Law" }

New to family law and just got my first absolutely devastating (for my client) GAL report. Any good coping strategies for this sort of thing?

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Attack the conclusions of the GAL. Are they biased? Has he/she failed to interview relevant witnesses? When you speak to the witnesses that were interviewed ask if their statements were accurately reported. You might be surprised. Create doubt, if you are able, as to the GAL’s credibility. Don’t just accept his/her conclusions as gospel. Remember, the court should never abdicate it’s responsibly to a GAL.

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1. Remember that you can't create good facts. Your job is to do the best with the situation your client has created. 2. Review it honestly with your client and identify each negative point and put a plan in place for how your client is going to remedy it. 3. Above all, set and constantly reiterate reasonable expectations to your client. The worst possible thing you can do in family law is to overpromise or fail to reign in a client with unreasonable expectations.

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Agreed with A1. In addition, if you determine the GAL report should be challenged, absolutely make sure you obtain the records/notes kept by the GAL during their investigation.

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I've never had a bad GAL report for a client who didn't deserve it, so I've never felt the need to get their records. Our court system doesn't use GALs extensively. It would also be very unusual for a GAL to cite to an academic article in their report. Usually just references to the factors and the GALs observations. Interesting to learn about how other jurisdictions work.

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Ask around and see what the judge’s opinion of the GAL is to see how big of a fight you have to make

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She's apparently the judge's favorite 🙃

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To add a little more context, this is an international parenting dispute. GAL basically took the word of individuals on opposing party's payroll over the numerous non-native English speaking fact witnesses for my client. As a result, the report suggests a parenting schedule that is even more restrictive than the already very restrictive temporary order. There was no finding of abuse or unfit parenting or anything, so it's just a gut punch that the report is basically suggesting my client only have 10% parenting time. The report also made some pretty questionable findings about the country my client lives in.

If you are in Texas, look in the Bar library for Joe Indelicato’s paper from Advanced Family in 2017 or 2018. Good ideas for challenging the appointed lawyer.

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