Since starting to volunteer, attorney Wendy Zun has been a vital part of the Child Rep program. She has handled some of the most unusual and complex court appointments.
Wendy recently took on a case as Guardian ad Litem for a 17-year-old in a contested divorce. The teenage boy was living with his parents in the same household, but his father was seeking all parenting time and exclusive possession of the home. The case was complicated by the fact that the parents both has significant health issues and had previously transferred ownership of the property into a trust for the benefit of the minor.
Through her investigation, Wendy also found out that the parties, though in the process of getting divorced, had previously petitioned to adopt twin young girls from Haiti. The parents assured Wendy that the adoption was never finalized, but in speaking to the adoption agency, Wendy discovered that the adoption was actually completed in 2019 and that arrangements were finally being made to bring the girls to the United States.
Wendy gathered as much information as she could in her role as the child’s Guardian ad Litem. She interviewed the parents, the teenager, and his principal and social worker. When the child texted Wendy that conditions at home were getting worse, Wendy conducted a home visit on a court holiday. Wendy learned during the visit that the mother’s medical condition had severely deteriorated.
The child’s mother unfortunately passed away during the pendency of the case. Prior to the mother’s death, however, Wendy has able to get her to agree to a proposed plan to relinquish the Haitian adoption. With the father’s consent, the girls were placed with another family in a different state.
Despite volatility at home, Wendy’s client was doing well in high school and taking university-level courses, but he thought a college education was out of his reach. Wendy took the time to provide him with resources regarding admissions, financial aid, and even helped him with his application essays.
In a letter to the Presiding Judge of the Domestic Relations Division, Judge Rossana Fernandez salutes Wendy’s work on this case. Judge Fernandez writes, “[Wendy] went above-and-beyond in an effort to assist this family in need… I believe [she] is the type of Guardian we need to assist us in the Domestic Relations Division.”