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Guardian Ad Litems in Ohio

A guardian ad litem (GAL) is appointed by the Court to conduct an investigation for the Court to assist in determining what is in the child’s best interests. Guardian ad litems may be attorneys that are certified as GAL’s or they may be CASA volunteers that have been appropriately trained. Some courts use only attorneys as GAL’s and others use mostly CASA’s. The GAL is not necessarily the “attorney” for your child, unless also appointed as such, and cannot give legal advice.

A guardian ad litem is not the same as a guardian appointed by a probate court to care for a child or incompetent adult. For information about a guardian of the person or estate as appointed by a probate court click here to be directed to that page.

When Guardian Ad Litems are Used in Ohio

GALThe Court may determine that it would be beneficial to appoint a GAL in cases involving child custody, child abuse/neglect/dependency, and in cases involving delinquent or unruly juveniles. GAL’s are also often used in divorce cases where custody is highly disputed. The Court may appoint a GAL upon its own or a party to the case may request that a GAL be appointed. The GAL will be involved in the case as long as the Court requires.



What does a Guardian Ad Litem Do?

In order to assist the Court, the GAL conducts an independent investigation. The GAL will visit the child in the parents’ homes; visit the child at school; talk to relevant family members and friends; and talk to doctors, teachers, and counselors. A GAL’s investigation may take several weeks to months depending on the situation and the progress of the case. Once the GAL has completed their investigation, they will submit a report to the Court that contains their recommendations related to all relevant matters concerning the child. The Court will then take the GAL’s recommendations into consideration when determining the appropriate outcome of the case.

If you are involved in a custody dispute or other juvenile matter and have questions regarding a GAL, contact a licensed Ohio attorney. To be directed to the Contact page for Yates Law Office, LLC click here.