A Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) is an attorney appointed by the Court to represent the best interests of the child/children in a contested child custody or divorce case. A Guardian Ad Litem is not necessary in every such case. An appointment usually occurs when one party makes serious allegations about the ability of the party to care for the child/children or when there is a disagreement on who will be the primary custodian.
It is the Guardian Ad Litem’s duty to conduct an investigation into the life of the child/children and provide a report and recommendation to the Court based on that investigation. If a Guardian Ad Litem is appointed to your case, you should expect some or many of the following to occur: consultations independent of your attorney, home visits, consultations with your attorney, interviews with childcare providers, character witnesses, teachers, and his/her review of various records such as medical, school and/or visitation.
Sometimes, the parties may agree on a particular Guardian Ad Litem, but other times the parties do not get a choice in who the Court appoints. Regardless, you should be cooperative with the Guardian Ad Litem and treat him or her with professional courtesy. The Guardian Ad Litem is there solely to make a determination of what is in the best interest of your child/children and once that is done, your case is one step closer to being concluded.
Post written by: Tiffany Lunn Esq.