The Guardian ad Litem gathers information to provide to the Court. Each case is different and the process varies in every case based upon the issues of each case.
A Guardian ad Litem does not make any recommendations or decisions as to custody or visitation. Only the Court makes decisions unless the parties reach an agreement for the Court to approve.
What is a Guardian ad Litem?
A Guardian ad Litem for a minor child is a person appointed by the court in particular litigation. When there are issues that are contested such as custody and visitation, a Guardian ad Litem is appointed to help protect the best interest of the child or children. A Guardian ad Litem is also necessary for name changes of a minor and adoptions.
What does a Guardian ad Litem do?
The responsibilities and duties of a Guardian ad Litem include, but are not limited to: (1) representing the best interest of the child and (2) conducting an independent, balanced and impartial investigation to determine the facts relevant to the situation of the child and the family. The Guardian ad Litem is lawfully invested with the power and charged with the duty of protecting the child’s interests in the litigation. The Guardian ad Litem is subject to all the rules of the court and shall receive all pleadings, notices, discovery, correspondence relating to the child, orders and notices of appeal.
How is the Guardian ad Litem selected?
Guardian ad Litems are appointed by the Court. The individual appointed to serve as the Guardian ad Litem in a particular case is selected by agreement of the parties or by selection by the Court.
How are Guardian ad Litem fees determined and who pays?
An order appointing the Guardian ad Litem is issued by the Court that outlines the hourly rate, the maximum amount that can be billed and division of payment between the parties. Any fees and increase in the fees charged must be approved by the Court or consented to by the parties. When each case concludes, the Court receives an itemization of the Guardian fees, including expenses and can make determinations as to the reasonableness of fees presented. The Court issues a final order that states how any balances are paid and who is responsible for payment. As the fees are ordered by the Court, the Family Court can enforce payment of the fees. Failure to pay the fees as ordered can result in additional fees and even jail.
Who can be an Attorney Guardian Ad Litem?
Attorney Guardian ad Litems must be licensed to practice law, as well meet the qualifications as required by state law, which includes annual educational and certification requirements.
Can a Guardian ad Litem mediate your case?
A Guardian ad Litem cannot act as a Guardian ad Litem and Mediator in the same case. However, a Guardian ad Litem may participate in a mediation or a settlement conference with the consent of the parties. Attendance by the Guardian ad Litem in contested custody and visitation cases can be beneficial.
Can a Guardian ad Litem provide legal advice?
A Guardian ad Litem cannot provide legal advice or services for the parties of a case.
What is "GAL"?
GAL is a common acronym for Guardian ad Litem.
An Order of Appointment by the Court is necessary for Guardian services. Selection of a Guardian ad Litem is by the parties, attorneys, or Court. The Court Order will outline the Guardian ad Litem rates and initial retainer. You will be required to make additional payments after the initial retainer is used. You may pay the initial retainer via the LawPay link on the Home Page or at your first appointment. Accounting statements will be sent to you via email or mail. Additional payments may also be made via mail, in person, or by clicking LawPay link.
M. Brooks Moss, PA
Attorney at Law
If M. Brooks Moss has been appointed as Guardian ad Litem in your case, please contact the office to schedule your appointment and make payment arrangements per the Court Order.
Please note that our office does not receive paperwork relating to the appointment immediately after the case is heard. A short period of time may pass prior to the office receiving your information. Once we receive the Order of Appointment and you or your attorney provides your contact information, you will be provided questionnaires by mail or email to bring to your first appointment. If you want your paperwork emailed to you, email email@example.com with a request for the Guardian package.
Only parties may attend the initial appointment. No other individuals may take part in the initial meeting, including the children involved in the case. The initial appointment is scheduled for one hour. Please ensure that your paperwork is completed and that the contact information for other individuals you wish to be contacted is complete. If you want your paperwork emailed to you, request by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
As a Guardian ad Litem, the practice works to protect the interests of minor children in all Family Court proceedings and to protect vulnerable adults in Probate Court proceedings.