What is a guardian ad litem?

In this Court, a guardian ad litem (GAL) is a family law attorney appointed to assist the court in determining a child’s best interest. The Court can appoint a guardian ad litem when parents cannot agree on an allocation of parental rights and responsibilities.  A GAL conducts an independent investigation by interviewing the child, the parents, the child’s siblings, and any other significant individuals involved in the child’s life. He or she often contacts the child’s school, teachers, pediatrician, and counselors. The guardian ad litem then issues a report to the court, making a recommendation as to the child’s best interest. The GAL also attends all hearings and trials in the case.

When is a guardian ad litem appointed?

One or both of the parents may request that the court appoint a guardian ad litem. To do so, they must file a motion to appoint a guardian ad litem. The Court may also determine that it is necessary to appoint a GAL. The Court can appoint a GAL at any point in a case.

Who is responsible for a guardian ad litem’s fees?

The parties are responsible for payment of the guardian ad litem’s fees. The Court will order one or both parties to post a cash bond with the Clerk of Courts as security for those fees. A GAL is paid $125 per hour as set by Local Rule 15. The minimum deposit for each parent is $500.