Guardian Ad Litem Can Ditch Case

Superior Court of Connecticut: Motion to Modify Custody 

The Superior Court of Connecticut, Judicial District of Fairfield at Bridgeport considered a plaintiff’s motion to open, seeking to reopen a stipulation she signed regarding a motion to modify custody regarding guardian ad litem. Upon review, the court denied the motion.

In 2007, a guardian ad litem (guardian) was appointed to assist the parties in developing a parenting plan. This plan was incorporated in the decree of dissolution the following year. Additional motions were made regarding custody and visitation, which were sporadically certified to the guardian, and in June 2008, a stipulation was signed by both parties, but not by the guardian. In November 2008, a new GAL was appointed by the court, who signed a March 2009 stipulation regarding financial, custody, and visitation matters. Thereafter, the defendant filed a motion to modify custody, and in September 2010, the parties met with family relations and signed a new stipulation, which the court approved.

The plaintiff sought to set aside this stipulation. She argued that the guardian should have received notice of the motion and claimed that the guardian remains in a case until affirmatively removed by the court. She cited a case that gave the court authority to have a guardian remain appointed on a “stand by basis” even after proceedings close. Fish v. Fish, 90 Conn. App. 744. The court distinguished that case, noting that the court in Fish specifically ordered the guardian to remain in the case knowing there would be future need for the guardian. The same could not be said in the present matter: the court noted the passage of time, the unknown availability of the guardian, and malpractice considerations.

Whether advancing or defending a post-judgment motion to modify custody or visitation, a divorced parent is best served by consulting with an experienced family law practitioner. Should you have questions regarding matrimonial matters, please do not hesitate to contact Attorney Joseph C. Maya in the firm’s Westport office in Fairfield County at 203-221-3100 or at JMaya@Mayalaw.com.