1. DEFINITION: The Guardian ad Litem is an advocate for the best interests of the minor child/ren. An attorney appointed as a Guardian ad Litem and not as an attorney for the child/ren will advocate for the best interest of the child. ( This is distinguished from an advocate role representing the clientís wishes which may be contrary to the clientís best interests.)
2. Although this Court has traditionally expressed a preference for GALís to be attorneys, the Court, in its discretion, may appoint a suitable person and non-attorney GAL in a particular case or cases. The Guardians ad Litem shall attend any mandatory training offered by the court and may attend other CLEís in areas regarding their duties as GAL. All attorney Guardians ad Litem shall have experience in Family Law.
3. Guardians ad Litem will be appointed upon the request of either party or upon the courtís own motion or when required by statute.
4. Attorney Guardians ad Litem will be compensated at the hourly rate established by the County Commissioners for court appointed counsel, all others shall be compensated at such other hourly rate as established by the Court. No fee for a guardian ad litem shall exceed $1,000 without prior approval of the court. The Guardian ad Litem may submit to the court a request for the deposit of additional fees or a monthly affidavit of fees for approval and court order regarding payment. The request shall be served upon all parties or their counsel if they are represented and if there is no objection an order regarding payments of deposits/ fees may be issued after seven days.
5. Upon appointment, the Guardian ad Litem shall perform certain basic duties identified below. The feasibility of some of the duties will depend upon the age(s) of the child/ren and the specific circumstances of each case. Therefore, it is within the discretion of the Guardian ad Litem to tailor each to the facts of the individual case.
a. Interview the child/ren separately,
b. Contact the child/renís school, if any,
c. Contact the childís health care providers, if any,
d. Observe each parent in the presence of the child,
e. Review pleadings and consult with each attorney as to positions and issues,
f. Investigate and interview as determined necessaryíPerform, home visits (may be combined with the interview process or the
home investigation if ordered by the Court)
h. Determine the necessity, if any, of evaluations and/or counseling for the child/ren, parents and others with contacts with the children
i. Through the interview process, determine the reasoning ability of each child/ren,
j. Prepare and file with the Court, with a copy to counsel, at least 5 days prior to any final adjudication, a written report and recommendation to the Court as to the best interests of the minor child/ren. The report shall be maintained in the non-public records of the Court and SHALL NOT BE FILED WITH THE CLERK OF COURTS. ALL REPORTS SHALL BE LABELED CONFIDENTIAL IN CONSPICUOUS LETTERING ON THE FIRST PAGE.6. The Guardian ad Litem shall appear at all hearings unless excused by the Court.