Also known as a Friend of the Court, a Guardian Ad Litem is a person the court appoints to represent the best interests of a child in a divorce or parental rights and responsibilities case. They investigate the case, meet with the parties, and make evidence-based arguments consistent with the best interests of the child, even though the Guardian Ad Litem's opinion may not be consistent with the child's wishes. The Guardian Ad Litem, operating under Rule 1.14, maintains a friendly, open relationship with the minor to form trust, so that the child may voice any concerns or wishes.
Although a GAL must take steps to discover the child’s wishes “a properly trained GAL..... who has thoroughly investigated the child’s situation and consulted with the child, is not disqualified from advocating from what he or she believes is in the child’s best interest merely because the child disagrees.”
Guardian Ad Litems/Friends of the Court are attorneys licensed in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Fees for them are apportioned at the expense of the parents or custodians, unless otherwise ordered by the court. Guardian Ad Litems are also appointed for a party who is incarcerated.
While you may have access to the file of the Friend of the Court, a GAL’s file is protected by attorney-client and work-product privilege, as well as confidentiality.
It is important to consider the ultimate goal before requesting the court to appoint either a GAL or Friend of the Court as the responsibilities differ in some areas.
The GAL would act on a Court appointment or custody action, dependency, neglect, or abuse case brought to the local cabinet of children's family and children.
Upon release, however, a GAL will be released from the case. A GAL’s responsibility in this case would be to ensure that the party is aware of the proceedings and to voice any concerns with the court.
Keith has handled thousands of cases as GAL, both in domestic cases and dependency, neglect, and abuse cases.
When you need an attorney to help you get assigned as a Guardian Ad Litem, The Gambrel Firm, LLC has the experience to help you.
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We have been helping clients throughout Northern Kentucky with the legal services and advice they need in protecting the best interests of a child during a divorce, neglect, or abuse case.