Matthew Jolly has served on the Guardian ad Litem Registry for the King County Superior Court since 2003. He has completed investigations and issued reports for countless families.
A guardian ad litem or parenting evaluation is the process by which a person designated by the court or the parents develops recommendations for a parenting plan for a child or children. These recommendations typically deal primarily with the residential schedule of time that the child spends with each parent. However, recommendations can also address such problems as conflict management, decision-making authority, counseling for a parent or child, substance abuse problems, domestic violence issues, or special needs of a child.
As a Guardian ad Litem, Matthew Jolly does not work for either parent. His role is to develop recommendations for the court that are in the best interests of the children. As such, He is an advocate on behalf of those interests and does not owe a duty of allegiance to either parent. This is true even when one parent is paying 100% of the costs.
Each case and family can have different requirements and investigative needs. While Matthew Jolly has a general process that he follows in most cases, the process can be modified or adjusted depending on the specific issues involved or other factors such as time constraints. A typical evaluation will include a review of relevant court filings, questionnaires for the parents, interviews of the parents, telephone interviews of family members and involved professionals, and observations of the parents and children in their home. Depending on the age of the children involved, the evaluation can also include an interview of the child. At the end of the evaluation, a written report is provided to the court and parties outlining the findings and making specific recommendations on behalf of the family.
Guardians ad Litem are typically appointed either by agreement of both parents or by a Judge or Court Commissioner who is seeking more information about a family’s circumstances.