Guardian ad Litem

A Guardian ad Litem provides independent legal services for the purpose of protecting a child’s best interests, without being bound by the child’s directives or objectives.

The Guardian ad Litem may do any or all of the following, depending on the case:

  • Meet with and interview the child, and advise the child of the scope of the representation.
  • Investigate the relative abilities of the parties in their roles as parents or custodians.
  • Visit the child in each home.
  • Conduct individual interviews with parents, other parties, and collateral witnesses.
  • Observe the child’s interactions with each parent and each other party, individually.
  • Review educational, medical, dental, psychiatric, psychological, or other records.
  • Interview school personnel, childcare providers, healthcare providers, and mental health professionals involved with the child or family.
  • File and respond to pleadings and motions.
  • Participate in discovery.
  • Participate in settlement negotiations.
  • Participate in the trial, including calling witnesses and presenting evidence and argument, as appropriate.
  • If the child is to meet with the judge or testify, prepare the child, familiarizing the child with the places, people, procedures, and questioning that the child will be exposed to; and seek to minimize any harm to the child from the process.
  • When the representation ends, the lawyer should inform the child in a developmentally appropriate manner.