Kessler On Guardian Ad Litem (GAL)
- What is a Guardian Ad Litem?
- When is a Guardian Ad Litem recommended?
- When is a Guardian Ad Litem not recommended?
- A Guardian Ad Litem has been appointed in my case, what should I expect?
- How much does a Guardian Ad Litem cost and who pays?
- How should we select a Guardian Ad Litem?
- Does KS do Guardian Ad Litem work?
What is a Guardian Ad Litem?
A Guardian Ad Litem is an attorney appointed by the Court to represent the best interest of the children in a disputed custody or divorce case. The Guardian Ad Litem is not appointed to represent the child/ren directly, rather the Guardian Ad Litem is charged with advocating for the child/ren’s best interest. Georgia Uniform Superior Court Rule 24.9 carefully outlines the qualifications and responsibilities of a Guardian Ad Litem. A Guardian Ad Litem is charged with conducting an investigation into the life of the child/ren and providing a report and recommendation to the Court for consideration.
When is a Guardian Ad Litem recommended?
Guardian Ad Litems are typically used when one party makes serious allegations about the ability of the other parent to provide proper care for the child/ren or if the parties strongly disagree about who should be the primary caretaker for the child/ren.
When is a Guardian Ad Litem not recommended?
A Guardian Ad Litem would not be recommended for a couple who have already come to an agreement regarding custody and visitation. A Guardian Ad Litem would not be recommended for a couple with only minor disagreements as to the details regarding custody and visitation.
A Guardian Ad Litem has been appointed in my case, what should I expect?
The Guardian Ad Litem is obligated to conduct a thorough investigation into the life of the child/ren. This may include all or some of the following: home visits, individual parent consultations independent of your attorney, consults with your attorney, interviews with character witnesses, care providers, teachers, and the child, review of relevant medical records, school records, and visitation records. The Guardian Ad Litem process can be arduous. The Guardian Ad Litem is appointed broad powers regarding access to information related to the child and it can at times feel intrusive. Parents should plan to be open and honest with the Guardian Ad Litem and do their best to provide the Guardian Ad Litem with all the materials and proof necessary for the Guardian Ad Litem to make an educated and responsible recommendation.
How much does a Guardian Ad Litem cost and who pays?
Most Guardian Ad Litems charge their standard hourly rate for the work they perform as a Guardian Ad Litem. The Guardian Ad Litem’s fees should be discussed in advance and clearly outlined in their fee agreement. The parties can agree who will pay for the Guardian Ad Litem or how the fees will be split. The Judge can Order how much each party will pay the Guardian Ad Litem at the time the Guardian Ad Litem is appointed or at the conclusion of the case. If the parties cannot agree ultimately the Judge will decide how much each parent will pay the Guardian Ad Litem.
How should we select a Guardian Ad Litem?
Sometimes you don’t get much choice in a Guardian Ad Litem, the Court will simply appoint the Guardian Ad Litem they feel would be best for your family. However, if you have the choice, you and your attorney should work together to consider the best choice for your family. You will want to look at the experience and the reputation the Guardian Ad Litem has in the community. You want a Guardian Ad Litem who will respect your child/ren, remain neutral as between the two parents, and provide a timely and thorough report and recommendation to the Court.
Does KS do Guardian Ad Litem work?
Yes we do. Several KSS attorneys are trained as Guardian Ad Litems.