Guardian Ad Litem, Divorce and Child Custody

guardian ad litemBy Sara Pitcher

Noblesville, Indiana Divorce Lawyer

A Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) is appointed in many divorce and child custody cases. A GAL will not enter a case until ordered by a judge.

However, either party in a family law case may request that the judge appoint a GAL in order to determine the best interests of the child or children involved in the case. The judge has discretion however, in deciding whether the party’s request should be granted.

In many states, a GAL is required to be appointed in abuse or neglect cases involving children.

Many guys wonder whether a Guardian Ad Litem would be helpful in their case and whether it would be beneficial to request one.

You may wish to request a GAL if you and the other party have a dispute as to a material aspect of the child’s well being and you wish to avoid litigating the issue in front of a judge. The GAL may be able to conduct their investigation and issue their report or discuss findings with the parties.

The parties may then be able to enter into an agreement based on the GAL’s findings. This may help the parties avoid the cost of the GAL fees combined with the expense of going to a hearing.

Guardian Ad Litem Cost

Often the Guardian Ad Litem’s fees are split equally between the parties. However, the court may order the parties split the cost with the higher earning spouse paying a higher percentage of the GAL fees.

The court may even order one party to pay the entire GAL fee, especially if the requesting spouse earns substantially more and the responding spouse objected to the request for a Guardian Ad Litem. The judge has discretion to determine the proper division of fees based on the circumstances of each case.


Role Of Guardian Ad Litem

Once a Guardian Ad Litem has been appointed in your case, you may be wondering what their role will be. A GAL will often be appointed in a case to look after the best interests of the child and report to the court, often through a written report, what the GAL believes to be in the best interest of the child. The Guardian Ad Litem’s role is to advocate for the child’s best interests in court.

The GAL may report on the child’s living arrangements, relationships, child custody, parenting time, etc. The GAL may also make recommendations for services that they feel to be in the best interests of the child and let the court know what the GAL hopes will happen in the case. The report to the court should be an independent assessment of the situation.


How GALs Evaluate Child Custody

In order to determine what will be in the best interest of the child, the Guardian Ad Litem will visit the child, the parents and step parents, and may visit with or contact others that the GAL feels may provide information necessary to help make a decision, such as teachers. The GAL may also review documents to form their opinion as to the best interests of the child.

In addition, the Guardian Ad Litem has the ability to subpoena witnesses to testify, ask questions and attend depositions, and access school and medical records of the child. The GAL may also ask the parties for a list of witnesses to speak with to obtain more information on the interaction of the parties with the child and the character of the parties.

While the Guardian Ad Litem is an advocate for the best interests of the child, the GAL is not the child’s attorney. The GAL is not obligated to do what the child wants and communications between the child and the GAL are not kept confidential since they may be disclosed in the GAL’s report or through discovery.

Cordell & Cordell has divorce lawyers for men located nationwide.

Noblesville Indiana Divorce LawyerTo arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Noblesville, Indiana Divorce Lawyer Sara Pitcher, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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10 Comments on "Guardian Ad Litem, Divorce and Child Custody"

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7 months 1 day ago

Can i request another GAL if I feel the he’s showing favoritism to my ex to sway the judges decision?

Julie Jost
7 months 24 days ago

What type of motion do I need to file before court asking the judge for a GAL??? A mediator told me I needed to file before court. Anyone that can help??

9 months 5 days ago
I’ve been in a motion to modify relocation case where I know the GAL, Joe Aubuchon ,was 100% for the mother, who wanted to move 300 miles away, where she married a man. Towards the end of the case he sent out a letter after I dyed my daughters with temporary hair dye. He asked in the letter that it’s been brought to his attention that someone is dying the child’s hair. He wants to know who’s doing it. How often it has been done and it needed to be stopped immediatly. He knew it was me because she reported… Read more »
10 months 5 days ago
ok so my ex husband has custody of my twin 14 year old boys. recently at school one of my boys became sick and needed to be picked up and taken to the dr. because my ex has custody and he failed to fill out the paper work that allows me to pick up my kids from school we had to waste the time of the school staff and had to pull the principle out of a meeting. we spent 45 minutes wasting the time of the staff. also I, the office workers, and the principle each tried to reach… Read more »
10 months 18 days ago
I have a question about how can I appoint a new gal? The one the court apointed is 100% for the mother. I do have soul custody primart placement of my children but she is making it harder and harder. The mother is a heroin addict living with 3 felons with multiple domestic violence charges, drug charges, armed robery, and burglary. She (gal)has little meetings before and after court with her(my wife), gives her legal advice, and when I simply say can I speak to you she (gal) literally throws are arms around and said this is a legal matter… Read more »
11 months 4 days ago

I feel that my child’s guardian ad litem is taking my husband side because he ran off with all th money and he has the money to pay her. This is horrible and I think there are cracks in the system.

1 year 2 months ago

Can the Guardian Ad Litem see thru all of the mudslinging of my wife ? She has turned my boys against me and they hate me because of this divorce which she started. She currently has custody of them.

1 year 1 month ago
I have many questions myself as what the guardian ad litem has the power to do. The guardian ad litem I have experience with would not have communication with me (the mother) nor my girls while they were in my care but the minute they were with their dad she had multiple communications with them as well as their dad and his wife. I would send her emails of my concerns she would either blow me off or completely ignore them or simply send me a blow off reply or a flat out lie (I have those blow off and… Read more »
8 months 8 days ago
Hi, I am curious to know if your case is still ongoing. Even if not, I may be able to help. I was a victim of smear campaigns by my son’s mother and she has the court and GAL 100% on her side. I am sick of incompetence and/or corruption in the courts that are supposed to protect our children’s best interests. I have been beat down and broken by my exes’ accusations and the trail of destruction in its wake and I am working on a plan to fight back. If you’re interested in helping me expose the crooks… Read more »
jim pancurak
1 year 4 months ago

do you any one or offices near erie pennsylvania