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Supreme Court of Ohio Adopts New Rules Governing Guardians ad Litem

On January 20, 2009, the Supreme Court of Ohio adopted new rules concerning the requirements to become a Guardian ad Litem.  These rules specify both the duties and obligations of Guardians ad Litem appointed in juvenile and domestic child custody case.  Previously, some counties had adopted local rules concerning the duties of a Guardian ad Litem, while others counties did not have a formal rule.  In order to create a uniform standard for the performance of an Ohio Guardian ad Litem, the Supreme Court of Ohio has adopted the following rules:
1.  Mandatory Court Appointments – Courts are now required to formally enter an Order of Appointment, declaring that the individual shall serve as only a Guardian ad Litem or as Guardian ad Litem and Attorney Advocate for the child in the custody case.

2. Responsibilities – The new rule includes 17 responsibilities for Guardians ad Litem. The rule requires a Guardian to perform all of these responsibilities, unless it is impracticable or inadvisable.  Some of the responsibilities include:

  • represent the best interest of the child or children
  • maintain objectivity and fairness in the proceedings
  • act with respect and courtesy
  • participate in any and allhearings that involve the child or children
  • file pleadings and motions as appropriate
  • become informed of the facts involved in the case with reasonable investigation
  • interview the child or children
  • interview the parents
  • visit the child or children at their residence
  • and other investigative duties.

3.  Training Requirements – Before the new Rule, each county had their own requirements for Guardians ad Litem to complete before they could serve as a Guardian.  The new Rule has created a six-hour pre-service training course that must be completed before an individual may serve as a Guardian ad Litem.  Currently, acting Guardians ad Litem have until January 20, 2010, to complete the pre-service training course.  A three hour continuing education course must be completed each succeeding calendar year.

4.  Reports – Guardians ad Litem are now required to file a written, final report at least seven days before the final hearing.  The report shall have the Guardian’s investigative findings as well as his or her recommendation to the Court.  The deadline for filing may be extended by agreement of the parties or by leave of the Court.

5.  Effective Date – The new rule for Guardians ad Litem will be effective on March 1, 2009.

Rule 48 of the Ohio Rules of the Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio can be found by placing your cursor here and either clicking or pressing Ctrl & clicking at the same time.



  1. T says

    Gal never mentioned the truancy charges ,child neglect charges, child endangerment charges or that her house was deemed deplorable by the health department. Also he said I was convicted of domestic violence and was a drug addict which is completely false. And she told all agencies ,schools therapist there was a CPO order on me which also was proven untrue. My lawyer laid back and didn’t help me. I have all the proof on paper for all the stuff she has done. From Police department,zoning code violations, kids being removed from the house. Ect Ect, Ect. I’m disabled about to have back surgery. Begging for probono help for I haven’t seen my kids in three years. Please help me.

  2. Anonymous says

    Children have no say in what happens in their life. GAL thinks its ok for an abusive stepmother and biological father to have said child.

  3. T says

    The guardian ad litem in my sister’s case in Lake County, Ohio claims she did not have to keep a file for the case. How can they actually recollect information if a file is not required for the work they do. Thanks for the great articles on this site that help clarify the role .

  4. VH says

    We need to begin holding GALs responsible for unethical, unprofessional conduct. The absolute immunity they are offered has become an approval for corrupt and abusive behavior. We need to start holding them legally accountable.

  5. P says

    Yes, this is true as the child rights should be protected to a certain degree to know All of her relatives including the other set of grandparent’s. Specially if they have been in that child life since birth. Ohio needs to change the current law to protect us grandparent even with relative adoption. Or not allow the adoption to be able to happen unless that child is of age to understand what they are loosing. The child and other relatives should not have to suffer due to any of the parents termination rights. To many sad stories out there I have heard about the child who suffered from it, and how they are now looking for their other family once grown. Change Ohio law.

  6. P says

    Why would the supreme court of ohio have the guardian ad lituim file 7 days before the final hearing when doing so they don’t hear all evidence? There is so much more involed then the other set of grandparent’s adoption of the grandchild. Ohio court’s need to see the WHOLE picture regarding the child who has a bonding relationship with the other family. Ohio adoption terminates right’s of the child’s other family even with relative adoption. How can they say this is the child best interest. They have right’s and adoption should not take place till child is of the age of Ohio law.

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