What does a Guardian ad Litem do in a custody case?

Posted by Leslie SarjiMay 08, 20230 Comments

Do I really need a Guardian ad Litem? 

When parents separate or divorce, the most critical issue is usually who will have custody of their children. It can be an intense and emotional process, and the court has to make sure that the children's needs and interests are prioritized. A court may appointment of a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) to investigate and make recommendations based on your child's individual needs and the circumstances of your family.

A Guardian ad Litem is a neutral third party appointed by the court. The GAL is tasked with investigating and analyzing the welfare of the child and reporting what is in the best interest of the child. The GAL represents the child's interests during the divorce, advocating for their safety, well-being, and future. They are typically attorneys who have years of experience working with children and families.

The GAL's role in a custody case is to act as a voice for the child. They work on behalf of the child's best interests, and not for the parents. The Guardian ad Litem works with both parties' attorneys, as well as the child and the child's family, to determine what is in the child's best interest. The GAL often speaks with the child and the parents to gain a full understanding of the situation. They usually visit both parents' homes, and sometimes even the children's schools or other places where the children spend time. They review court documents, medical records, and other relevant information. They may also speak to other witnesses who know about the children and their needs.

Based on the information they obtain, the Guardian ad Litem prepares a report that outlines their findings and recommendations. The report is submitted to the court, and it can be presented as evidence in the custody case. They also testify in court if necessary, to ensure that the child's interests are properly represented.

In South Carolina, a GAL can be appointed by agreement of the parties or by the judge. The cost of the Guardian ad Litem's appointment is usually divided between the parents, but in some instances, the court may order one party to pay more of the GAL's costs.

If you're going through a custody case in South Carolina, and you're worried about your child's best interests being met, a Guardian ad Litem may provide valuable assistance. It is important to determine whether a Guardian ad Litem would be beneficial in your case.  A family law attorney can help you through this process and represent you and your child's interests. With their help, you can successfully navigate the complexities of a custody case and ensure that your child's welfare is prioritized throughout the entire process.