When it comes to court cases involving children, the judge has a crucial job. They must determine what is in the best interest of the child without outside influences. To make this determination, they need to consider several factors. Sometimes it is impossible for a judge to make a ruling in the case because they do not have enough information. In these cases, the court will appoint a guardian ad litem who can assess the totality of the child’s circumstances.
A GAL is a court-appointed individual who has the job of gathering information and preparing recommendations about the children involved in child protection cases and some legal family matters. They are tasked with helping the court determine what is in the best interest of the child. Every child protection case must have a GAL.
Every GAL, no matter their background, receives specialized training to work in the family court system. A GAL can be a lawyer, a licensed mental health professional, or a volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). Certain types of cases may require GALs from a particular background or with specialized training. For example, GALs in child protection cases must be licensed attorneys in Maine or a CASA.
The family court might appoint a GAL in the following cases:
In family cases, a GAL can either be a licensed attorney or licensed mental health professional. The court’s order will detail the GAL’s duties specific to the case. In family matters, they frequently make recommendations to the court regarding where the child should live and parent-child contact. The facts in an individual case will dictate the duties assigned to the GAL by the court. The GAL is not allowed to perform more duties or not complete all of their duties unless the court approves.
Duties of the GAL in family court cases include:
It is not uncommon for parents to disagree with information contained in the GALs report for family matters. If this happens, you and your family law attorney in Maine have the right to call the GAL as a witness to be questioned during a court hearing. Your attorney can advise you if this is appropriate for your case. If you have a serious complaint about the GAL in your case, you have the right to make a complaint.
The Maine Divorce Group has assisted numerous clients in cases involving a GAL. We know that having a GAL in your case can seem intimidating and confusing. Our attorneys can explain how the GAL will assist in your case and how what they have to say could benefit you. Contact us today to schedule an appointment to review your case and get your questions answered.
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