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What is a Guardian ad Litem?

COLUMBUS OHIO CHILD CUSTODY ATTORNEYSQ. What is a Guardian ad Litem?

In certain domestic relations and juvenile court proceedings, a Guardian ad Litem is an attorney or Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) appointed by the court to represent the best interest of the minor child(ren) until discharged by the court.
COLUMBUS CHILD CUSTODY LAWYER

Q. Do the parents have to request a Guardian ad Litem?
No.  A Court can appoint a Guardian ad Litem at the request of either parent, or upon the Court’s own motion.
Q. What are the duties of the Guardian ad Litem?
Generally, a Guardian ad Litem is required to perform certain basic duties. The feasibility of some of the duties will depend upon the age(s) of the children and the specific circumstances of each case. Therefore, many counties allow the Guardian ad Litem discretion to tailor their investigation to the facts of the individual case. The basic duties of the Guardian ad Litem include:

  1. Interview the children and observe each parent with the child(ren);
  2. Review pleadings and consult with each attorney as to position and issues;
  3. Investigate all significant persons and interview independently;
  4. Obtain records e.g., school, criminal, medical, psychological, child protective agency;
  5. Perform home visits (this may be combined with the interview process);
  6. Evaluate the necessity, if any, of psychological evaluations or counseling; and file a motion requesting the same;
  7. Communicate with the Protective Services worker, where applicable; and
  8. Attend all depositions concerning the best interest of the child(ren).

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316 or contact us by e-mail.

COLUMBUS CHILD CUSTODY LAWYER

Q. What are the powers of the Guardian ad Litem?
The Guardian ad Litem has the right to file motions and to review all confidential records involving the child(ren) by request, through deposition, and by subpoena. The Guardian ad Litem also has the right to conduct discovery and examine witnesses at trial.

OHIO CHILD CUSTODY LAWYERSQ. Is the Guardian ad Litem required to file a written report?
Usually they are, but they are not always required to do so before trial. Some Courts require the Guardian ad Litem to file a written report, but others allow the Guardian ad Litem to simply state their recommendation to the Court during a court hearing. Portage County has a court form for a guardian ad litem report which you may find interesting. Many guardian ad litem reports follow the statutory best interest of the child factors, but this form requires the guardian to specifically identify the amount of work they put into their investigation. Click here to look at Portage County’s guardian ad litem form.

CHILD CUSTODY AND VISITATION ATTORNEYQ. Is the Guardian ad Litem going to be at the Court hearing?
The Guardian ad Litem is required to be present at all hearings pertaining to the children. The Attorney/Guardian ad Litem may subpoena and examine independent witnesses.

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316 or contact us by e-mail.

Q. Can I get the guardian ad litem fired or removed from my case?

Once upon a time the answer was, for all practical purposes, no. However, expectations of Guardian ad Litems in Ohio have changed, and courts are looking more closely at the conduct of guardian ad litems. Keep in mind that once a guardian ad litem makes a recommendation in a case, there is going to be at least one party who does not agree with the recommendation of the guardian ad litem. The court knows and expects this. The court does not consider a guardian biased simply because the guardian finds one party to be more credible than the other.

COLUMBUS CHILD CUSTODY SUPPORT ATTORNEYThat being said, if a party believes that the guardian ad litem should be removed from their case, they must file a motion for removal of the guardian ad litem. Some of the causes for removal of a guardian ad litem might be:

  • failure to investigate
  • failure to report a conflict between the wishes of the guardian ad litem and the child
  • bias
  • fraud
  • misconduct

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316 or contact us by e-mail.

For more guardian ad litem resources, see the local rules for your county and our resource page entitled Ohio  Family Law Resource.  See the section about guardian ad litems. There is information there from several different state and national resources.

In addition to read more about Ohio’s new rules governing guardian ad litems, check out this article:

http://www.cornwell-law.com/02/supreme-court-of-ohio-adoptions-new-rules-governing-guardians-ad-litem/

For more information about FATHER’S RIGHTS, see our page regarding FATHER’S RIGHTS IN OHIO.

For more information about MOTHER’S RIGHTS, see our page regarding MOTHER’S RIGHTS IN OHIO.

For more information about GRANDPARENT RIGHTS see our page regarding GRANDPARENTS RIGHTS IN OHIO.

For more information about obtaining CUSTODYSHARED PARENTING, OR VISITATION in Ohio, see our post about OHIO CUSTODY.

For more information about DNA testing, see our post regarding DNA TESTING.

For more information about SHARED PARENTING, see our post regarding SHARED PARENTING IN OHIO.

For more information about the rights of UNMARRIED PARENTS OR NEVER MARRIED PARENTS, see our post regarding UNMARRIED PARENTS IN OHIO.

For more information about DISSOLUTION, see our page regarding DISSOLUTION IN OHIO.

For more information about DIVORCE, see our page regarding DIVORCE IN OHIO.

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