Due to the proposed elimination of the Guardian ad Litem Fund, as of April 19, 2011, and until further notice, Guardian ad litem appointments in divorce and parenting cases will only be made in private pay cases where one or both parties will be responsible for full payment of the GAL fee. Guardians ad litem previously appointed in cases where payment was ordered from the GAL Fund have been directed not to continue working on these cases after June 1, 2011. Any work done after June 1st will not be compensated in Fund cases. See Family Division Administrative Order 2011-03.
In family cases, a guardian ad litem (GAL) is appointed when parents cannot agree on a parenting plan for their children. Typically the judge or marital master issues an order appointing a particular GAL to investigate specific issues that are in dispute. The court order will designate how much each party is required to pay the GAL unless the parties are indigent.
The GAL conducts an investigation which may include interviewing the parents, the children and other persons who may have information relevant to the issues involved. In most cases the GAL prepares a written report which includes a recommended resolution of custody and visitation issues that, in the GAL's estimation, is in the best interest of the children.
The judge or marital master makes the final determination after considering the GAL's recommendation along with all of the other evidence presented in the case.
Guardian ad litem appointment in Family Division
Effective July 1, 2007
- For appointment in Family Division cases of divorce, legal separation, or parental Rights and responsibilities, guardians ad litem must be board certified in the Superior Court.
- For appointment in Family Division cases of juvenile delinquency, children in need of services, abuse and neglect, or domestic violence, guardians ad litem must be board certified in the District Division.
- For appointment in Family Division cases of termination of parental rights, guardianship of minors, or adoption, guardians ad litem must be board certified in the Probate Division.
The following guardians ad litem are certified in the Probate Division, the District Division, and Superior Courts and are qualified for appointment in ALL Family Division case types.