What is the role of a Guardian ad Litem in a San Diego Divorce? A Guardian ad Litem is either a private attorney or a Court Appointed professional. The role of the Guardian Ad Litem is to represent the best interests of the child(ren), be it in a Family Court case such as a divorce or child custody and parenting time action. A Guardian Ad Litem may also become part of a domestic violence proceeding.
Unlike a guardian for an individual in probate court, the Guardian Ad Litem in a Family Court does not take over the affairs of the child or make decisions on the child’s behalf, but rather reports to the court what the guardian believes will be the best form of action for the Court to take in regard to the minor child.
A Guardian ad Litem is either appointed after a request of one of the parties or may be appointed by the Judge in your case. The fees of the guardian ad litem are either paid for by the Court or the Judge will assign a percentage of the fees to each party, allocating them equally or based on the incomes of the parties’.
An initial deposit is required by the Guardian ad Litem after which they send invoices to inform the parties of the additional funds necessary to continue on with the case. It is important to note that the appointment of a Guardian ad Litem is a Court Order, therefore non-compliance and/or lack of cooperation with the Guardian ad Litem could lead to being held in contempt of court.
The Guardian ad Litem will hold an initial meeting with the parties to ensure that he/she has all of the case facts. Soon thereafter, you can expect a home visit to determine if your home is suitable for the child to reside within. One of the primary aspects of the role of a Guardian Ad Litem is to observe how you interact with your child. This experienced professional will also converse with the child(ren) to determine what the child’s wishes are and if he/she has any concerns with their current or future placement options.
Once the Guardian ad Litem has completed the investigation, he/she submits a report to the Family Court with recommendations on what they find to be in the best interests of the minor child. This report does not necessarily dictate the outcome in your divorce or family law case. However, the Court will strongly consider the recommendations of the Guardian ad Litem.