Guardian ad Litem FAQ’s
- What is a Guardian Ad Litem
- When is a Guardian Ad Litem Recommended
- A Guardian Ad Litem has Been Appointed in my Case, What Should I Expect
- What Are Some of the Guardian Ad Litem’s Other Duties
- How much does a Guardian Ad Litem Cost and who Pays
- How Should we Select a Guardian Ad Litem
What is a Guardian Ad Litem?
A Guardian Ad Litem is an individual (often an attorney or other professional) appointed by the Court to represent the child’s best interests in a disputed custody or divorce case. The Guardian Ad Litem is not appointed to represent the child directly, but rather to advocate on behalf of the “best interest of the child”. In accordance with Uniform Superior Court Rule 24.9 the Guardian Ad Litem is charged with conducting an investigation into the life of the child and providing a report and recommendation regarding custody and visitation to the Court for consideration.
When is a Guardian Ad Litem Recommended?
Guardian Ad Litems are typically used when one parent makes serious allegations about the other parents’ ability to provide proper care for the child, if the parties strongly disagree about who should be the primary caretaker for the children, if there are allegations of abuse, or if a child has a disability.
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. An investigation will likely include all or some of the following: home visits, individual parent consultations (meaning independent of your attorney), as well as consultations with your attorney, interviews with the child, character witnesses, care providers, teachers, and review of relevant court, medical, school, financial, and other records involving the child.
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 information necessary for the Guardian Ad Litem to make a well informed and responsible recommendation.
What Are Some of the Guardian Ad Litem’s Other Duties?
A Guardian ad Litem holds a position of trust with respect to the child. The Guardian ad Litem will submit a written (or oral) report to the court of their findings and recommendations, which can only be shared with the parties and their attorneys. The Guardian ad Litem can testify at trial as the Court’s witness, and may file motions, pleadings, or discovery, or request witness subpoenas as needed to serve the best interests of the child. The Guardian ad Litem may participate in settlement negotiations and make objections to proposed settlement agreements of issues relating to the children.
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 parties can agree who will pay for the Guardian Ad Litem or how the fees will be divided. The Judge will typically order how much each party will pay the Guardian Ad Litem at the time the Guardian Ad Litem is appointed. It is common for the parties to split the Guardian ad Litem fees, however the judge can order a different division of the fees depending upon the relative resources of the parties.
How Should we Select a Guardian Ad Litem?
Sometimes the Court will simply appoint the Guardian Ad Litem they feel would be best for your case. However if you have the opportunity to chose a Guardian Ad Litem, you and your attorney should consider the best choice for your family by evaluating the experience and the reputation of the Guardian Ad Litem. It is best to choose a Guardian Ad Litem who will advocate for your children, remain neutral towards both parents, has relevant experience, and will provide a timely and thorough report and recommendation to the court.
The answers provided on the Frequently Asked Questions pages and other published pages on this website are only generalized statements believed to be accurate at the time the corresponding web pages were published. Do not rely on or act upon any information found on this website; rather, use the information to help you form and articulate questions for your attorney regarding your particular legal matter. The information provided on this website DOES NOT constitute an attorney/client relationship. The members of Georgia Adoption & Family Law Practice offers no legal advice until an engagement contract is executed by Attorney Vernadette R. Broyles and by an approved client of Georgia Adoption & Family Law Practice and an appropriate retainer for legal services is received… DO NOT send confidential information to the Georgia Adoption & Family Law Practice without expressed consent from Attorney Vernadette R. Broyles.