Do you need a Guardian ad Litem?

Do you need a Guardian ad Litem?

A Guardian ad Litem (“GAL”) is someone appointed by the Family Court to represent the best interests of the child during litigation when both parents are seeking custody. The reason behind appointing a GAL is that neither parent can be relied on to make an impartial decision about what’s in the children’s best interests when they are both fighting for custody. Therefore, a GAL is appointed to investigate the situation and try to determine whether the child’s best interests would be served by awarding custody to one parent over the other. 

A GAL is expected to maintain a confidential relationship with the children if possible so it is unlikely that the GAL will report to you what the child discussed with the GAL in confidence. 

A GAL has no authority to make decisions about issues in the child’s daily life such as with whom the child should associate, what the child should eat, when the child should go to bed, whether to go to church or school, etc.

If the parents can agree on a person who is willing to serve as the child’s GAL, the Family Court will likely accept the parent’s recommendation. More commonly,  however, the Family Court will appoint someone unknown to the parties. This may be a lawyer or a layperson (someone who is not a lawyer). But if the Court appoints an attorney to serve as a GAL, that person will only function as a GAL, not as a lawyer for the child. 

Parents are normally required to split the payment of the guardian’s fee unless the Family Court determines that one parent should pay more than half or all of it. -Marriage and Divorce Law in South Carolina

If you are in need of a Guardian ad Litem to conduct a fair and thorough investigation to effectively represent the best interests of your children, Greenfield Law Firm is here to help. Our South Carolina family law firm serves the needs of families in Upstate South Carolina and surrounding counties. Click here below to begin working on your case.