1. What is a Guardian ad litem (GAL)?
- A Guardian Ad Litem, or a “GAL”, is a court appointed professional who acts as a neutral third-party voice in a court case involving children. As defined by Ohio Rules of Superintendence “Guardian ad litem means an individual appointed to assist a court in its determination of the best interest of a child.”
2. Who can be a Guardian ad litem?
- Anyone. Most Guardian ad litems are attorneys, or other individuals from the legal professions. A Guardian ad litem is required to complete an approved pre-service education course. The course is 12 hours long.
3. Is a Guardian ad litem the same as a Social Worker?
- No. The Guardian ad litem is appointed by the Court to assist them in determining the best interest of the child. A Social Workers assist in investigations and helps place children in safe environments.
4. Does having a Guardian ad litem appointed mean I have to have supervised visitation?
- No. While the GAL might come to observe you while you’re visiting with the children, the appointment of a GAL does not guarantee that supervised visits will be required.
5. What does a Guardian ad litem do?
- The GAL will gather information. This is done by having conversations with you, your friends, your family members, the children (if they’re old enough), and any other people of relevance to the situation at hand. They will also make note of the living arrangements. After they gather all their information, they write a report as to their findings with their neutral third-party perspective and recommendations as to what is in the best interest of the child.
6. Is what the Guardian ad litem recommends going to happen?
- Not necessarily. While the Court appointed the GAL for a reason, and does value their report and perspective; just because the GAL recommends something does not mean that the Court will rule that way.
7. Is there a fee involved when hiring a Guardian ad litem?
- Most Courts will require that one or both parties pay a deposit to the Court. Most Guardian ad litem’s work on an hourly basis. Their hourly fees can vary. Depending on how much work the Guardian at litem provides on a case, the parties may receive some of their deposit back or may have to provide additional funds for the Guardian ad litem’s service.