296 N Main St, Ste 16, East Longmeadow, MA 01028  | info@joannacobleigh.com
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Joanna Cobleigh, Esq.
Hampden and Hampshire Counties
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Domestic and Family Law

There are many ways to divorce. Only you can decide what works for you and your family. The same can be said of any domestic dispute including custody, parenting plans, child support, or separation between unmarried couples. Atty. Joanna Cobleigh can provide options to help you settle your domestic dispute.
These all have varying levels of attorney involvement, advice, and costs. The best way to determine what works for you is to schedule a legal consultation with Atty. Cobleigh. She can evaluate your case, provide legal guidance, and recommend a plan of action.

Guardian Ad Litem (GAL)

Category "F" Investigator

A Category F Guardian ad Litem is an investigator (GAL) appointed by the Probate and Family Court to investigate facts in cases involving the care and custody of minor children and other matters that implicate the interests or rights of children. G.L. c. 215, § 56A; G.L. 208, § 16.

A GAL is often appointed in cases that raise questions about:
• a child’s best interests as related to custody and visitation;
• advantages or disadvantages of removing a child from the Commonwealth;
• changes in circumstances that might warrant modification of a judgment;
• existence of a de facto parent-child relationship;
• parental fitness as related to termination of parental rights or guardianship;
• paternity of a minor child; or
• other matters implicating the rights and interests of a minor child.

The role of the Category F GAL investigator is to gather and report factual information that will assist the court in making custody, visitation, or other decisions related to the welfare of a child. Unless the appointing judge specifies otherwise, the GAL investigator’s role is limited to gathering and reporting information to the court. The GAL may include recommendations in the report if the order of the court authorizes inclusion of such recommendations.

Note: The court, not the GAL, decides legal issues and ultimately makes credibility determinations and factual findings when facts are in dispute. The GAL reports on facts and avoids providing legal conclusions or legal analysis.