What is a Guardian Ad Litem?

Q: I just filed for divorce and I have always been the stay at home parent.  My spouse suddenly wants to have the children half the time.  We just had a temporary hearing and the judge appointed a Guardian Ad Litem (or GAL).   The Judge did not explain what a Guardian Ad Litem is, what they will do in my case or why one is needed?

          A Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) is an individual (most often an attorney – but does not have to be) appointed by the court to represent the child/children’s best interest in a custody action.  The court can also appoint a GAL for an adult who is alleged to be incompetent to make their own decisions. 

          Most jurisdictions will require that a GAL complete a specialized training program.  The GAL is basically the “eyes and ears” of the court.  The GAL will conduct an investigation and will make recommendations to the court.  The court is not required to follow the recommendations of the GAL, but if the GAL is very experienced, it is likely that the court will put a lot of weight on the recommendations.

Do you have legal questions? We’re here to help your family. Call us at 770-333-1620.

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