By 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.
To 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.
12 comments on “Guardian Ad Litem, Divorce and Child Custody”
I was appointed GAL for my son after allegations against his father came out.
We are supposed to be in court this morning for our custody case which was on the calendar before the allegations….its 11/23/2016
The court date for the TRO is 11/29/2016
I can’t find my name on the docket???
Can i request another GAL if I feel the he’s showing favoritism to my ex to sway the judges decision?
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??
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 it. How could he expect anyone to believe he didn’t know who was doing it? He wanted to chew me out while looking like he was nuetral. He was also the mothers Dads lawyer in a custody case involving the mother. His partner in their firm was the mothers original lawyer in our divorce. Also the GAL was the mother’s lawyer’s child’s Godfather. Isn’t there a conflict there somewhere? To top it off. After 3 full days of trial, The GAL voluntarily took the stand and told a flat out lie. He stated that I went bolistic in his office while trying to work out a new temporary visitation agreement with the mother. He said she was afraid for her life. I can prove this was a lie because if this did happen, he would have definitely mentioned something about it to my lawyer or someone throughout the course of the trial. It didnt happen but what did happen was he offered me to give up one full day of my time with my daughter for an extra 3 hours at the end of one of my other days. When I said no, He placed his hand on hers and said ” He just isn’t going to agree to anything.” To top things off. The Judge is good friends with the mothers Dad. As a favor to her dad. The same judge married us in a Gazebo In 2006. After the relocation was granted, the judge based my child support at over double my First Officer pay from the airline. Now I can’t afford to support myself because she gets 1/3 of my take home pay.
Is there a policing agency that watches over judges and GAL’s. Am I just screwed? Is there anything I can do?
What can I do about guardian ad li tem children are being abuse in wilmington nc can you help get the children back to throw daddy
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 the father at work, we were unsuccessful…..finally I called his work and said it was an emergency. subsequently that worked and my son was released to my care. the other issue that came up was my ex was married but got divorced by a very troubled wife. turns out she filled out the paper work and falsified the records stating she was still the wife. the issue was, on the paper work it listed, father, step mother and me, the mother. s im trying to find out what guardian ad litem, conservator or both means. I do o however, that, by the ex wife filling out the papers she falsified stating she was the step mother. so my question is, with the guardian ad litem and conservator does that give me the legal right to pick up my children whe they are ill
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 I’m not going to talk to you about it and runs away. The gal will not return my calls and she does not do her job whatsoever. My lawyer isn’t much help so I’m asking what if anything can be done about getting a new gal? Thank you.
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.
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.
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 flat out lying emails as well). She never did contact their healthcare provider, teachers or few people here for that matter. She did in fact contact one of my friends and she turned him into a pedophile on the stand in court with NO knowledge or justification. She never made or attempted or even talked about a home visit either. The guardian ad litem in my case had never held an investigation but yet she has made allegations that are so untrue that I could vomit. My precious girls and I use to be so very close and now since being with their dad they HATE me. He also reminds me how happy they are to not talk to me (have that in an email) He also talks to them about my emails when I am emailing him not the girls (also have that in writing from my girls) I even have text messages from him telling me everything is my fault and my problem when the girls are hateful and disrespectful to me. I am basically not allowed to ask them any questions. I am not certainly not privy to social media information ie. user names unless the girls want to share them with me. They made it very clear they don’t have to share that information with me as well. Whenever I would bring up any concerns I had she would always come back with the same thing……..”I have spoken to both girls separately and privately and neither one as any idea of anything….” Even though I have physical proof that their dad has inappropriate conversation with the girls in regards to emails or court issues. I can’t understand how a person has such power and clout to ruin lives. Do I have the right to any reports to the allegation? I have nothing in my background to allow for such abuse of the system. Meaning no criminal history, no jail time, no domestic violence no psychiatric hospital stays, no bipolar diagnosis and no attempts of suicide (all of which my ex husband has on his record) I have also never had a DUI or DWI (I am a social drinker which is legal I am 44). I am perplexed as to how this is happening. I though the guardian ad litem is to be objective, her very first report was anything but objective. She has made multiple statements as to why she doesn’t contact anyone that could provide positive information about me and the lives of my girls…..”They are team Ravin” so I will not get objective statements….what the world? What does she think? My ex husband is going to have objective statements from people he knows? And, since when is a teacher, principal, health care provider, youth director etc etc not objective? I know for a fact the guardian ad litem has abused her powers in the most unethical way possible and as a result my girls are truly suffering. They are unfortunately convinced I love the dog and cat more than I love them. It breaks my heart in so many pieces they believe that to be true. Not only has the GAL abused her powers but my ex husband and his wife are guilty of parent alienation and hostile parenting from all the research I have done….on the Indiana parenting time guidelines and various sites regarding these issues. I would sure love some help I am going crazy here!!! This is not a matter that only dads deal with…..there are terrible parents on both sides and these issues need to be addressed!
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 that are paid to decide our childrens’ fates, contact me at Miaakeron@gmail.com and put something like “Indiana parent” in the subject so you don’t get marked as spam by accident.
do you any one or offices near erie pennsylvania