HARTFORD, Conn. – Legislation changing how child custody cases are handled in Connecticut courts drew emotional testimony Monday from parents who feel wronged by the people the court assigns to represent their children.
The bill involves “guardians ad litem” who are assigned to represent the interest of minors in contentious custody battles. Last year, the legislature created a task force to study the system, which critics say lacks oversight and often leads to soaring legal expenses for parents. Some of the group’s recommendations were incorporated in the legislation, which allows parents to seek the removal of a guardian.
But some of the parents in the hearing room Monday said the bill does not go far enough because it does not create an oversight mechanism for GALs and it does not cap how much money they can earn working on individual cases.
During the hearing, a comment from one parent elicited applause from those in the audience. Sen. Eric Coleman, the committee’s co-chairman, asked those in attendance to refrain from clapping. When it was his turn to testify, Jean-Pierre Bolat, a divorced father of three from Wallingford, admitted to starting the applause.
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