The ‘Dating Game’ – Maine Guardian ad litem style

Custody tensions can be hard enough without the ‘help’ of a stranger coming in and making recommendations based on a bizarre and abstract idea that has no clear foundation other than that person’s opinion.

For the past several years that Guardian ad litem role expansion has been what Maine’s Justice Saufly (and others) call “mission creep” in the role of Guardian ad litem. Going beyond what the courts have mandated and beyond the scope of these Guardian ad litem’s professional training. One area of “mission creep” is that a Guardian ad litem has no right to prescribe unusual social behaviors in managing the lives of divorcing parents and their child.

There is one case that has made its way through the court system where a Judge has made history. The Guardian ad litem working this case has essentially recommended that the parents (both of them have remarried) start ‘dating’ allegedly ‘in the child’s best interest’ (the Guardian ad litem has rewritten to state that monthly ‘meetings’ are recommended – whatever it is called by the Guardian ad litem it is not something the Guardian ad litem has any authority nor mandate to recommend). What is interesting is that this Guardian ad litem has no background in psychology and is stretching the Guardian ad litem role way beyond any Maine statutes.. It is a Guardian ad litem as a law unto him/herself. As this Judge has endorsed the recommendation he/ she is in effect giving approval to court ordered dating for divorcees in the State of Maine. An embarrassing first in the United States for Maine and our court system.

According to rules for the Guardian ad litem section 3, 3.2, 12 (a) “Working effectively with other professionals involved in the assessment or treatment of the child” is something that can apparently be ignored by Guardian ad litems if it does not fit their personal opinion of the “child’s best interest” in any situation. This Guardian ad litem is imposing his/ her surreal bias on the situation and in opposition to the opinion of a licensed mental health professional, to say nothing of the wishes of one of the remarried parties. It is a do your own thing plan of action. This Guardian ad litem has no mandate nor training (nor does any Guardian ad litem in the State of Maine or in the US) to recommend this course of “over the top” action. What the goal of this situation is, is hard to understand – other than the claim that it may meet some need of one parent over the other. This and a totalitarian mind set on the Guardian ad litem’s need to impose his/ her will. It would be laughable, as a bad joke, were it not so destructive of the lives of real people.

Should this bizarre recommendation actually be implemented – as it looks like it will – by the court; then both the Guardian ad litem and the court should be held responsible for this insane idea and lack of common sense. The Guardian ad litem should be dismissed – permanently. The Judge should be sanctioned at the very least if not removed. There is no room in Maine’s Justice system for such bad jokes or decisions.

An example such as this one is a strong cry for effective, long overdue oversight of Maine Guardian ad litems. Those who would say that there is “no scandal” in the Guardian ad litem program must have an extremely tolerant view of scandal.