What Is A Guardian Ad Litem?

If you and the other parent are unable to agree upon the terms of a Parenting Plan, the Court may appoint a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) to represent the best interest of the children. Based upon the Court’s understanding of the nature of the parenting issues in dispute, the GAL will be charged with the responsibility of investigating those issues identified by the Court.

A GAL’s investigation will typically include things such as interviews with both parents, meetings with the children, and the collection of information from collateral sources such as friends and family identified by each parent as well as from teachers, counselors, coaches, etc. Eventually, if the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the GAL will file a report, with recommendations for orders, with the Court.

Although the Court will usually give considerable weight to the GAL’s recommendations, the Court is not bound by the GAL’s recommendations. In other words, after hearing all the evidence during a final trial, the Court can enter orders different from the GAL’s recommendations.

When a GAL is appointed, the documents you receive from the Court will discuss the $1,000.00 cap on the cost of the GAL’s investigation. If your case involves a number of contested parenting issues, assume that the cost of the GAL’s investigation will exceed that amount.

 

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Divorce & Family Law

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