When you think of custody battles, you usually think only the parents need attorneys, but despite popular belief, children often need them too. A Guardian ad Litem (GAL) is an attorney for the child appointed by the court. A Guardian ad Litem’s duties consist of meeting with the children and their parents to get a better understanding of what would be an ideal situation for the children. Through assessment, GAL’s make legal recommendations during the custody case to ensure the children’s best interests are being represented. It’s important to note that GALs are required to be appointed to cases involving abuse or neglect in the juvenile courts. Courts can appoint GALs without the consent of the parents.
Cost of a Guardian Ad Litem
In divorce and custody cases in Utah District Court, if a GAL is appointed, the court will order how the fees for the GAL are to be paid. Usually, the fees are equally split between the parents. Some GALs work on discounted hourly rates, but they can cost anywhere from $150.00 to $300.00 per hour.
Responsibilities of a Guardian Ad Litem
A GAL has a wide variety of obligations. They must personally meet and interview the child to determine their goals and concerns. As part of their investigation, they are obligated to interview key witnesses and review necessary medical, school, and psychological records. In addition, the GAL is required to be in attendance at all hearings to make sure the child’s interests are being heard.
Do You Need a Guardian Ad Litem?
If you feel like a GAL is needed in your case, give our Utah family law attorneys a call today. We can help provide legal guidance and recommendations regarding the complexities of your case. Let our team take care of you and your family.
Call us at (800) 265-2314 or fill out this form on our website for a consultation.