Guardian ad Litem

What is a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL)?

A “guardian ad litem” (GAL) is a person the court appoints to investigate what solutions would be in the “best interests of a child” and advocate for the that solution by making a recommendation to the Court.

What do GALs do during their investigations? 

To represent the best interests of the child, the GAL may: 

  • interview the child and any other involved parties (e.g., parents, family members, teachers, religious leaders, coaches, etc.);

  • request the child's medical and educational records;

  • request the child or parents undergo psychological testing; 

  • visit the child's home; and/or

  • investigate relationships.

After the GAL has conducted his or her investigation, they will draft a report with the recommendations they believe are in the child's best interest.

 

 

Is the GAL the child's attorney?

While the GAL will consider the child's wishes, the GAL will always act in the child's best interests.  For example, if the child wants to live with one parent, but the GAL finds that parent has a substance abuse problem, the GAL will go against the child's wishes and make the recommendation that is in the child's best interest.

 

 

What if the GAL believe that one parent is unfit? 

If the GAL believes a parent is unfit, they may recommend that the judge award custody to the other parent and possibly even limit visitation.

Should I ask that a GAL be appointed in my family law case?

Most parents will go out of their way to ensure no harm comes to their children during a child family law case, but if you are worried that the other parent is not representing your child's best interests, it may be worth asking the judge to appoint a GAL in your case and advocate for your child.

As trained child advocates, we are able to focus on the needs of your child to make sure that their best interests are not lost in the war of litigation. Rely on our knowledge, skills, and experience to give your child a voice in the courtroom.

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