What does a Guardian Ad Litem do?
GAL is the acronym or abbreviation for Guardian Ad Litem. A Florida Guardian Ad Litem is an attorney appointed on behalf of the minor child (under the age of 18) with the intention of serving the best interests of the minor child. A GAL may be appointed upon motion of the attorneys, pro se litigants, or by the court itself if it has reason to believe there is an issue involving child safety and that the circumstances warrant an investigation. GALs are appointed to investigate child neglect, health and safety issues, and child endangerment (a non-exhaustive list, but you get the idea that there is a severity involved). The GAL keeps a close eye on the domestic quarrels and disputes to be able to report to the court any out of the ordinary activities or abuses that may occur at home.
Florida Guardian Ad Litem
A Florida Guardian Ad Litem will appear at every hearing during the proceedings and will provide testimony as to what specific actions or outcomes would be in the best interests of the children. The work of a Florida Guardian Ad Litem does not necessarily end when the court proceedings are over. (It is a tough job and is usually done by wonderful people with big hearts) These wonderful men and women may be asked by the court to continue monitoring the subsequent behavior of the parties toward their children to continue to ensure the safety of the precious kids.
GALs will ultimately know if the parties are being dishonest with them GALs are trained to spot when parents are deceiving the court. In fact, Florida Guardian ad Litems often recommend the parents undergo psychological evaluations and drug screens based on behaviors they observe when visiting your home. Generally, the more honest and open the parties are, the better the Florida Guardian Ad Litem’s evaluation of their parenting quality will be.
If circumstances warrant, your attorney may make a motion on your child’s behalf to ask the court to appoint a GAL. Provided the court decides in favor of the appointment of a Florida Guardian Ad Litem, the GAL will be involved in your case for the duration of the proceedings remaining. For additional information on child custody, how child support is calculated in Florida, child support and health insurance, Florida alimony, mediation, domestic violence and divorce, or Florida divorce, visit our Florida Law Blog.