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What is a Guardian Ad Litem and Why has One Been Assigned to My Case?

A Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) is an objective, third person who works with the court to determine facts of a case. A GAL is usually assigned when the parties in a case state very different sides to the same story. The court will also assign a GAL to represent a child’s best interest when the court believes the child’s interests are not being represented adequately. If the court assigns the GAL to represent a child, the GAL will act as the child’s lawyer. In family law, GAL’s are most typically assigned to custody disputes, but may also be assigned to divorces, especially complex, highly contentious one’s.

The GAL assigned to your case can conduct outside investigations to determine what is really going on. The GAL has the authority to interview your children’s teachers, speak to family members, go to your home, contact and obtain documents from your bank, and conduct other such investigations. Once the GAL has completed the investigation, the GAL will file a written report and submit a recommendation to the court. The GAL can also participate in court proceedings and may be cross-examined by your attorney.

GAL’s can be incredibly helpful in highly contentious cases, or cases with severe allegations. However, GAL’s can become very costly. Usually, the cost of the GAL is divided equally among the parties. However, the court may assign the full cost to you if the court feels that you, alone, created the need for the GAL to participate in the case. You may also be assigned a greater portion of the costs if you are uncooperative in the GAL’s investigations.

To avoid the cost of a GAL, we recommend you are cooperative and fair with your spouse during the divorce or child custody process. Once a GAL has been assigned, the best way to keep costs down is to cooperate with the GAL and follow the court’s orders.

If a Guardian Ad Litem has been assigned to your case and you need advice, please contact Spindler and Associates. We have years of experience and know the laws and court procedures for Wayne, Oakland, Livingston, Genesee and Washtenaw Counties where our attorneys have practiced for years. Contact Kathryn Wayne-Spindler & Associates at 248-676-1000 to schedule a consultation. The Oakland County law office is conveniently located in Milford, Michigan. Our service area includes these communities: Milford, Waterford, Walled Lake, Commerce, Highland, Hartland, White Lake, Commerce, South Lyon, Linden, New Hudson, Wixom, Holly, Fenton, Grand Blanc and many more.The attorneys at Kathryn Wayne-Spindler & Associates are experienced attorneys who change with the times to meet the needs of their clients.  Contact the Milford, Michigan law office of Kathryn Wayne-Spindler & Associates at 248-676-1000 for assistance. The attorneys of Kathryn Wayne-Spindler & Associates practice law throughout Southeastern Michigan including Oakland, Wayne, WashtenawGenesee and Livingston counties as well as four mid-Michigan counties ClareGladwinOgemaw and Roscommon. The attorneys handle cases in Milford; Highland; Hartland; White LakeWixom; Commerce; Walled Lake; Waterford; West Bloomfield; Linden; Fenton; Flint; Grand Blanc; Holly; South Lyon; New Hudson; Howell; Clare; Gladwin; Houghton Lake; Higgins Lake; and many more Michigan communities. And soon to be in Dadeville, Alabama.

 

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