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What is Guardian Ad Litem?

In divorce cases where the decision of custody is undetermined, the court may decide to use a Guardian Ad Litem. According to the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch, this type of arrangement may come about if you and your ex-spouse are unable to agree on a parenting plan or the situation that seems unfit for the child.

Once appointed, a GAL is responsible for representing the best interest of your child. This person will also play a major role in helping officials determine what the appropriate custody arrangement would be. The court may request that he or she do the following:

  • Perform interviews of you, your child and your ex-spouse
  • Speak with any coaches, teachers and medical professionals
  • Investigate any facts
  • Look over records and files
  • Represent the child in court hearings

Once this is complete, the court may ask the GAL to make a recommendation to the court. This role is independent from the attorney for the child as the GAL does not represent the legal interests of any parties involved.

The GAL must have passed a training program in order to be appointed by the court, but will need to be paid for by you and your ex-spouse. A sliding scale will be used to determine costs if you have low income. In extreme cases, the state may provide payment.

The GAL is expected to behave professionally and impartially. He or she may also be asked to encourage dispute resolution between you and your ex-spouse. If one of you feels that this is not happening, a motion can be filed and a mediation or hearing scheduled. This information should not be taken as legal advice.

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