Open letter to all guardians ad litem


Are you a guardian ad litem? Then this article is for you.

Because I need to talk to you.

Just between us, from woman to woman: Are you satisfied with your work? Are you satisfied with the job you have at the family court as a powerful associate judge? Is it exactly as you imagined it would be when you trained as a guardian ad litem?

You had very specific ideas back then, didn’t you? I very much hope that your motives for becoming a guardian ad litem were idealistic – you wanted to help support the family law system and ensure that children in highly contentious families are heard and get their rights.

Because that’s how it should be.

After all, you are the child’s lawyer. 

Not the mother’s. And not the father’s.

The child’s lawyer

It’s a tough job, isn’t it? It’s already difficult for adults to find the right lawyer-team partner. But how does a four-year-old boy explain to you what’s on his mind? Especially when he doesn’t understand what’s going wrong in his life?

I assume you’ve learned how to speak empathetically to young children, right? And you can certainly understand when a child reacts timidly to strangers and says something that no one can really interpret. If at all he or she can already form reasonably clear sentences.

On this occasion, how do you talk to a child who cannot yet speak? Or perhaps even has special needs – was born mentally handicapped?

Phew. Quite a difficult task. Respect!

Well: I could not do that. I couldn’t sleep a wink at night if I had the responsibility for a small human child who might be forced by my vote to deal with an abuser.

But I think that you certainly know what you are doing.

That you also know that there are bad people. Not only in crime scenes. Not just in American action movies.

That there are people who are not so criminal that you can lock them up right away.

But people who simply have no empathy, are filled with hatred and envy of others and therefore do everything to be right or to protect their property.

You have come here to a blog that caters to mothers with a toxic Ex partner.

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As a coach, I accompany these mothers through their daily lives and prepare them for their next family court hearing by strengthening and encouraging them to shed the victim role and stand up for the truth clearly and confidently.

Logically – not every mother is a saint and not every father is toxic.

But especially in high-conflict custody and access proceedings, there must be at least one parent who wants anything but the best for the child.

Who only puts his own interests first.

It is true that I speak here on my blog only for mothers who have children with a toxic-narcissistic Ex-partner.

But you can certainly apply the thoughts I hope to unleash in you with this article to narcissistic mothers, should you experience such in the courtroom.

A little tip: Narcissistic people always talk about themselves.

Me, me, me. My right. My time. My child.

Toxic-narcissistic people are also impossible to please. They are not concerned with settlement.

They are about the energy. About the attention. About the confirmation.

Highly toxic men are all about destroying their opponents

On the job. On the street. In society. In the courtroom.

Any means will do.

Just pay attention to that.

Because it is quite possible that you have already let yourself be harnessed to the cart of a highly toxic child father.

But these men can be so charming! We all fell for it once, my dear!

But the arguments always sound very conclusive.

The poor guy – for years under the bondage of the woman who squandered his money and now wants to see him bleed and is furiously jealous because someone told her he cheated on her (which is not zero true at all!). And who now wants to prevent, for better or worse, that he still sees the children.

But he wants the alternating residency model so much! He finally wants to take care of his children, he realizes that he made mistakes in the past. He wants to turn the wheel before it is too late.

And that look! Can those eyes lie?

Maybe you’ve had a character like that sitting in front of you.

And maybe you took out the flaming sword afterwards and cut a swath through the jungle thicket of the legal system and prepared the way for him. By representing his word and his interests in court.

Wait a minute. That wasn’t supposed to happen, was it?

Surely you are the child’s lawyer and not the father’s second lawyer?

That would be totally unfair.

Imagine this: A 13-year-old girl, who is disgusted by her toxic father’s lifestyle and can hardly stand the pressure he puts on her and therefore wants to end the alternating residency model, gets a flaming rebuttal from her own lawyer in court.

That her mother had talked her into it.

And the girl wonders: How else is she supposed to say what she thinks and feels, if everything that does not speak for contact with the father is not taken away from her?

I know, YOU are not one of them, but did you know that there are guardians ad litem who even demonstrably lie in order to achieve their declared goal – namely to serve the father of the child and to help him to his rights?

Yes, unbelievable, isn’t it?

I have been thinking about it myself.

There are even colleagues of yours – now hold on – who severely traumatize children and forever destroy in them the trust that the child will be heard and noticed if he or she speaks the truth, and then even become downright assaultive if the child still doesn’t say what the guardian ad litem wants to hear, even after being heard 10 times: “Yes, I want to go to daddy, he’s the best and mommy is the stupid one who’s been telling me what to say all along.”

The teenager, although he has previously submitted in writing that he no longer wants to talk to this guardian ad litem – because he has already noticed that he was lied to by her and that his own wishes were disregarded – nevertheless forces her to testify in court again.

In addition endless unwanted conversations and meetings in the house of the child father during the contact weekend. Or calls to the mother on holidays to intimidate her.

At some point, the child only thinks – when will this finally stop? When will I have peace? And at some point it realizes: This will only stop when I give in and say what this woman wants to hear – and against what my stomach and my soul are telling me.

That’s how you break people.

A scandal, isn’t it?

Do you want to feel confident about managing child hand-offs with your toxic ex?


Thank God you are not that kind of a guardian ad litem.

Thank God you are focusing on your role – to be the child’s lawyer and not the second lawyer of either parent. Who has made it her business to find out what the child’s will is, not to speak to the child welfare and set herself up as the second judge.

Right, that’s on your radar – the difference between the child’s will and the child’s welfare? And that only the judge has to decide on the child welfare, provided that factually correct information is disclosed to him from all three sides?

What the mother thinks. What the father thinks. And what the child wants.

And if the child is already at an age where he or she can clearly and comprehensibly justify where and how it wants to live – even if one or the other adult doesn’t like it – then pass that on without judgment.

Because that is your job.

I’m really grateful to you if you perform your task professionally and with heart and soul.

There is quite a lot at stake.

You may only see the current proceedings – I see the next generation of young adults who have survived a difficult and traumatic childhood and will at some point begin to ask questions.

Why they were forced to have contact when there was clear evidence of child abuse brought forward by the mother early on.

Why they were repeatedly questioned suggestively and lied to by abusive guardians ad litem.

Why they tried to prove attachment intolerance to their mother, even though she did everything she could to protect the child and at the same time supported contact with the father.

In every generation, children have been abused and mistreated, their opinions devalued and forced to do things they did not want to do.

It is always easy to dominate the weaker and impose our thinking on them, isn’t it?

There is no art to it.

However, great wrongs will always be exposed later. 

Because all children will one day be big and grown up

With their mothers, the young adults will be able to read everything. The court transcripts and their own notes.

I am more than curious to see how many years it will take before the family law system is airtight against arbitrariness and king thinking and power grabbing by individual actors.

A system in which it is possible for a child to have its own lawyer who actually represents its interests. And he can be dismissed if he does a bad job.

A system that makes every effort to ensure that the conflict between the parents does not culminate in a dynamic that severely and permanently traumatizes the child.

A system that makes it quicker for the judge to slam on the brakes when the umpteenth motion is brought by the same aggressive parent.

How good that you yourself are committed to your ideals and can look at yourself in the mirror every day and every evening with a clear conscience!

You have so much responsibility!

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