Definition of Guardian ad Litem
A Guardian ad litem (GAL) can be a hired community worker, a lawyer or a social worker who is appointed by the court to investigate and determine the needs of a neglected or abused child for the Department of Social Services. The Guardian ad litem can also be assigned to represent the best interests of a child in a divorce or parental rights and responsibilities case.
The goal of the Guardian ad Litem (GAL) is to serve the best interests of the child. This can include reviewing the case details, collaborating with the family or other interested parties, writing a report for the court and the parents, vigilantly monitoring the case, and keeping all information private.
The Guardian ad litem may have to work with teachers, parents and doctors to gather information about the child and their family. They may also have access to other information such as mental health or medical records.
If the Guardian ad litem is making recommendations to the court for a divorce case they will consider a variety of factors to make their decision such as the child’s age, the child’s relationship with each parent, the stability of each parent’s home, and the parent’s ability to work together with the other parent in the best interest of the child.