What to Expect from the Guardian ad Litem

South Carolina law requires that a Guardian ad Litem to be appointed in cases where the issues of child custody or child visitation are contested issues.  The Guardian ad Litem is typically an attorney (though it doesn’t have to be) who represents the children in the matter and performs an investigation into both parties and the minor children.  One of the most important things the Guardians do is to prepare a report that is presented to all parties and to the Court that details the facts of their investigation, though it is not allowed to make a recommendation as to which party should be awarded custody.  So what should you expect when a Guardian ad Litem is appointed in your case? Here are some things that I do when I am appointed as Guardian ad Litem and from what I have witnessed other Guardians ad Litem do in my client’s cases.

As soon as a Guardian ad Litem has been appointed, the lawyers in the case will notify the Guardian and the Guardian will send the parents a questionnaire to complete and return. At that point, an in-office meeting will usually take place at the Guardian’s office so he/she can meet with both parents individually.  The children should not attend this meeting because some of the topics of discussion will not be appropriate for them to be apart of.  Most Guardian’s make home visits to the homes of each parent to make sure places are clean and appropriate for the children.  This is also a chance for the Guardian to witness the children interacting in each parent’s home environment.

The Guardian ad Litems will also want to meet privately with the children.  This may take place at their home or at school.  This time with the Guardian is important for the Guardian to speak with them without the influence of either parent.

The Guardian ad Litem may also interview other people who know the children and the parties. These other people may include the teachers of the children, guidance counselors, grandparents, neighbors, and doctors.

Comments

  1. How does the process go if both parents are incarcerated and the child (3) has been appointed a caregiver? If mother request the caregivers take care of him until she gets out how likely is it that the caregiver will get guardianship? Do guardian ad litems do what the mother requests?

  2. Jan Cromer says:

    What can you do if a GAL did not serve the children’s best interest but had their own agenda for a child?

    • Robbed Father says:

      I wish I had the answer to this as well. I was robbed blind by a GAL, even though I received Sole Custody of my two young children. I even have recordings and documents to prove the GAL’s gross negligence and criminal misconduct. The SC Office of Disciplinary Council said its not their problem.

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