What is a Guardian ad Litem?
A Guardian ad Litem is an attorney appointed to assist the Court in determining the best interests of minor child(ren) in a legal proceeding. The Guardian is not the attorney for the child(ren) and the Guardian’s recommendation may be inconsistent with the wishes of the child(ren) whose interest the Guardian ad Litem represents.
A Guardian ad Litem shall make reasonable efforts to become informed about the facts of the case and to contact all parties. In order to provide the court with relevant information and an informed recommendation as to the child(ren)’s best interest, a guardian ad litem shall, at a minimum, do the following, unless impracticable or inadvisable because of the age of the child(ren) or the specific circumstances of a particular case:
(a) Meet with and interview the child(ren) and observe the child(ren) with each parent, foster parent, guardian or physical custodian and conduct at least one interview with the child(ren) where none of these individuals is present;
(b) Visit the child(ren) at his or her residence in accordance with any standards established by the court in which the guardian ad litem is appointed;
(c) Ascertain the wishes of the child(ren);
(d) Meet with and interview the parties, foster parents and other significant individuals who may have relevant knowledge regarding the issues of the case;
(e) Review pleadings and other relevant court documents in the case in which the guardian ad litem is appointed;
(f) Review criminal, civil, educational and administrative records pertaining to the child(ren) and, if appropriate, to the child(ren)’s family or to other parties in the case;
(g) Interview school personnel, medical and mental health providers, child protective services workers and relevant court personnel and obtain copies of relevant records;
(h) Recommend that the court order psychological evaluations, mental health and/or substance abuse assessments, or other evaluations or tests of the parties as the guardian ad litem deems necessary or helpful to the court; and
(i) Perform any other investigation necessary to make an informed recommendation regarding the best interest of the child(ren).
A Guardian ad Litem shall maintain independence, objectivity and fairness as well as the appearance of fairness in dealings with parties and professionals, both in and out of the courtroom and shall have no ex parte communications with the Court regarding the merits of the case. Prior to trial, the Guardian ad Litem will prepare a written Report and Recommendations of the Guardian Ad Litem and provide the report to the parties, counsel and the Court.
When you need an experienced family law lawyer who is familiar with the role of a Guardian Ad Litem and can assist you in working with the Guardian to obtain your desired outcome, contact Christopher M. Alexander at (513) 228 – 1100, mobile (513) 226 – 8489, or online at Chris@awklegal.com.