How is the Guardian Ad Litem Paid?
Q: The judge ordered my spouse and I deposit $1000 into the court’s registry. The Judge stated in his Order that at the end of the case, she would decide if either of us should receive payment from the other. I do not think it is “fair” that I should have to pay for a Guardian that I do not feel is needed.
If both parties are unable to pay the GAL’s fees, the Court may appoint a GAL who has agreed to work on the case as a volunteer or at a reduced rate. Most of the time, GAL’s charge on an hourly basis and both sides will be required to pay an initial retainer. The Order for the GAL will specify how the GAL’s fees will be handled. It is very common for the Judge at the end of the case, to decide that one party will pay more than the other of the GAL’s total fees. If one party earns substantially more money than the other, the Judge will have the higher earning party contribute more to the GAL’s services than the other. It is also possible, that if one side does not cooperate with the GAL and be forthcoming with information, the Court can “punish” that party and require that the uncooperative party pay more than the cooperative party. Many judges will state in their initial Order appointing the GAL specific terms concerning the payments to the GAL. A typical provision reads: “In the event that there is a hearing or mediation in this case, and the GAL is called as a witness by either party or requested to appear, all of the GAL’s fee due at that time will be paid in full before the GAL is required to attend.” Another common provision in the judge’s initial order is: “In the event a written report is necessary, all fees due at that time, and a deposit of the full retainer shall be paid in full prior to the GAL writing the report.”
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