investigator’s role allowed by statute in each jurisdiction that would allow a GAL or Best
Interests Attorney to seek that person’s opinion/report rather than the attorney continuing in an
ethically compromised position within the litigation.
The chart will help practitioners seek role clarity within existing frameworks under the UMDA.
But what about taking a position on the correct role of counsel? In Morgan, the mother simply
asked that the role of the child’s advocate be clarified, but did not ask that the court adopt a
specific role. Over the past twenty years, commentators have moved toward consensus that the
GAL or best interest attorney model is inappropriate because it compromises children’s dignity
and voice in the court process224 and dilutes quality of representation.225
Kentucky used litigation to clarify role of counsel. Further clarification has come from case law.
So far, the legislature has not modified the statutes that affect practice and the Kentucky
Supreme Court has not adopted new rules. Practitioners remain confused to a certain extent. A
follow-up by the legislature or the Supreme Court in its rule-making capacity could be
Illinois was in a somewhat similar position to Kentucky in the early 2000s and did just that.226
Under the Illinois statute, trial courts have the ability to appoint an attorney, guardian ad litem, or
224 See, e.g., Ann Haralambie, THE CHILD'S ATTORNEY: A GUIDE TO REPRESENTING CHILDREN IN CUSTODY, ADOPTION
AND PROTECTION CASES (Section of Family Law, American Bar Association, 1993) (proposing that a child's attorney
should advocate the child's wishes unless they are potentially harmful to the child, but suggesting increased
counseling to reduce ethical problems.).
226 It should be noted that, like Kentucky, Illinois has various provisions related to children’s attorneys and
investigators for the court, consistent with the UMDA. Illinois recently revised its statutory provisions related to
child representation in custody matters. See, e.g,, 750 ILL. COMP. STAT. 5/506 (West 2016) (in any domestic
proceeding involving a child, the court may appoint an attorney for the child, a guardian ad litem, or a child
representative, each of whom has a different defined role in terms of representation, investigation, case evaluation,
recommendation, and professional responsibilities to the child); 750 ILL. COMP. STAT. 5/604.10(b)(West 2017) (the
court may seek advice from professional personnel); 750 ILL. COMP. STAT. 5/604.10( 6)(the court may order an