My question involves a child custody case from the State of: MO
Our GAL is not advocating for the kids.
Ex is abusive toward the kids. This has been documented by photos, restraining orders, police reports, CPS reports, and even some of Ex's own statements. However, Ex denies some of the recent incidents.
There are currently multiple CPS investigations and a police investigation open against Ex. CPS has tried to contact GAL repeatedly over the last few months. CPS wants to halt Ex's visitation until a new supervisor gets approved by the court. This is because abuse is still occurring during supervised visits.
GAL ignores this recommendation and states that she doesn't think Ex is actually abusing the kids. GAL's most recent argument for Ex's innocence is based on a link she found during a Google search about abuse (GAL says this - I'm not just guessing).
GAL has only seen photos of the most recent incident that Ex provided. She says the photos don't match the abuse photos in the Internet article. This is a random Internet article, not a specific article about my ex's actions.
I also have photos and so do the police - they had someone photograph the kids, so it's not like I just handed over my own photos. GAL has not seen or requested any of these although GAL knows they are available.
There are some witnesses available. The kids have also talked about the abuse with babysitters, coaches, teachers, counselors, and therapists. All of the CPS calls have been made by mandated reporters. The GAL has not contacted any of these people despite having their information. GAL has also not contacted any of my friends or family members. The GAL has only contacted Ex's friends and family members, and of course they all say wonderful things about Ex's parenting skills.
The kids have done forensic interviews and talked about the abuse. GAL says these interviews aren't good enough and that the kids need to personally tell the GAL what happened or the GAL is going to grant Ex more time. I thought the whole point of these interviews was the protect the kids from having the relive the abuse by telling their stories again and again.
GAL recently filed a motion to give Ex more time against the wishes of CPS/police. The judge denied the GAL's request and basically said the GAL needs to send more time investigating the incidents of abuse. (the judge gave specific requirements for the GAL to fulfill before filing another motion to increase Ex's time, but I don't want to put them all in a public forum)
CPS and police have repeatedly stated that the GAL should be advocating for the kids. Someone from one of the agencies involved told me off the record that they feel I need to get another GAL. They also said they feel my lawyer should be trying to get the GAL to behave better and said I may want to switch attorneys.
My attorney says we can't get another GAL because our state only allows one switch, and we already made a switch at the beginning of the case. That's how we ended up with the current one. Attorney has also stated that if we tried to switch, the judge would probably deny the request and that would make the GAL angry and vindictive toward me.
My attorney is friends with the GAL. I didn't consider that a problem at first because I figured it makes sense for lawyers and GALs to be friends. However, I wanted to get rid of this GAL from day one because this GAL represented another party in a court case against me. I had a different attorney at the time, and the other party's attorney (who is the GAL now) lost the case. So I thought there might be some issues with having a GAL who was not only opposing counsel against me at one point, but opposing counsel who lost the case.
Oh, and if it matters, the GAL remembers me from the other case. My attorney asked, and the GAL said yes.
This other case was a few years ago, so my attorney assured me that the GAL would not have any bias toward me and that everything would be fine. It hasn't been fine, and I'm not really sure how to protect the kids at this point.
I thought the GAL would help the kids, not ignore other agencies recommendations or accuse them of lying about abuse. I'm nervous about what will happen long-term if the GAL continues to ignore documented abuse and the recommendations of these agencies.
Or is it normal for a GAL to behave like this?