WHAT DOES A GUARDIAN AD LITEM DO?

The GAL investigates and evaluates the circumstances of the children and the parents for purposes of recommending to the Court the “best interests of the child”.  The GAL has broad powers of investigation, and he/she will meet directly with the children, the parents, the references and/or family and friends of the parents, school personnel, child care providers, counselors/therapists, and anyone else who may have direct knowledge regarding the children and the parents.  After completing his or her investigation, the GAL is obligated to file a Report to the Court, the parents, and/or to their attorneys, in advance of any hearing/trial.  The Report may include “hearsay” and the direct “wants” of the children, but the GAL is obligated to recommend the Best Interests of the Child, even if that conflicts with the children’s wants.  The GAL will usually be required to testify under oath in court regarding the contents of the Report and/or any additional information gleaned from the investigation.