Guardian Ad Litem

Q: What legal authority does the court give a Guardian Ad Litem in a Family Law Case?

          When the Guardian Ad Litem is appointed it is very important to read the order appointing the GAL.  Sometimes the judge will give special powers to the GAL, such as acting as a mediator for the parties.  It is the GAL’s responsibility to represent the best interest of the child.  The GAL is required to investigate claims made by the parties and witnesses; interview parties and all individuals with knowledge concerning the child and/or the parents and advise the court as to the custody and parenting plan which would be in the child’s best interest.

          Depending on the particular case, the GAL can make custody recommendations to the court; and testify at trial as an “expert” or fact witness as to the best interest of the child; and/or participate at the custody trial as a third lawyer (representing the best interest of the child) and is permitted to subpoena and cross examine witnesses.  The GAL has the ability to request that the court order the parties and their child to have psychological examinations.

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