What is a Guardian ad Litem?
"Guardian ad litem" means an individual appointed to assist a court in its determination of a child's best interest. More often than not, the GAL that gets appointed is an attorney. However, many times courts will appoint social workers or CASA (volunteer) GALs.
Who Pays for the GAL?
Usually, the court will order the deposit for the GAL split evenly between the parties. Sometimes, however the court will order the person seeking a change of a prior order to pay the entire deposit for the GAL (usually between $700-$1,000). In limited circumstances, the court will appoint a GAL and pay the cost.
What Rules Must a GAL Follow?
The Supreme Court of Ohio announced on Jan. 22, 2009 the adoption of a new rule, Rule 48 of the Rules of Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio (Sup.R. 48), to govern guardian ad litem standards in Ohio. The rule became effective March 1, 2009.
How Does The GAL Tell The Court Their Recommendations?
The GAL submits a written report to the court. In domestic relations proceedings involving the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities, the final report shall be filed with the court and made available to the parties for inspection no less than seven days before the final hearing unless the due date is extended by the court. Written reports may be accessed in person or by phone by the parties or their legal representatives. A copy of the final report shall be provided to the court at the hearing. The court shall consider the recommendation of the guardian ad litem in determining the best interest of the child only when the report or a portion of the report has been admitted as an exhibit.