As a Florida State Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator and a Qualified Parenting Coordinator, Dr. Coughlin hopes that all families coming apart might cooperate to develop a mutually agreeable Parenting Plan that represents the best interests of the children. Unfortunately, that is not always possible. Parents, attorneys for the parents, or the Court may initiate an order to appoint a Guardian ad Litem (GAL). A GAL is appointed to assist all parties in determining what will be in the best interests of the child(ren).
Dr. Coughlin begins her GAL investigations by meeting with each parent to identify the parent’s perspectives regarding the children. The next step in the process is to meet the children. Adolescents are often invited to meet with Dr. Coughlin in the office followed by meetings at home, school, or another public location. Meetings with older children (10 and over) will be individual in addition to joint with each parent. Younger children may be seen in sibling groups in addition to in the company of each parent. The determination of the number of sessions held with each parent and the child(ren) is determined on a case-by-case basis.
GAL work also includes collecting collateral information. Collateral information may pertain to each parent or the child(ren). Types of collateral information include: school records, medical records, phone interviews with family members and friends, mental health evaluations, etc.
Please contact the office if you are considering appointing Dr. Coughlin as a Guardian ad Litem for your child(ren). She will be happy to consult with you and your attorney.