What is a Guardian ad litem?

If you find yourself in a custody battle there is a good chance that a Guardian ad litem (GAL) will be involved at some point. A GAL acts as the eyes and ears for the judge. Investigating and reporting back to the judge. A GAL’s work is for the best interest of your child. Trying to determine what your child would want if he or she were old enough to make decisions for them selves.  GAL’s make life changing decisions for people.

In theory the idea behind what a GAL does makes sense. You have two people who are attacking each other trying to make the other look as bad as possible. The GAL comes in as a neutral person to wade through the battle field for your child. It was put to me that the judge sees a snapshot of what is going on. The GAL if they do their job right gives the judge a preview of the situation to help him/ her make a final decision.

In Maine there are issues with GAL’s. It is a job where one is billed $100 + an hour for their services and no one manages them. It is an opportunity for abuse by a GAL who has not been properly trained or whose ethics are sub standard. GAL’s are part of a badly broken justice system that can have a huge impact on a divorcing family’s emotional and financial health. We have heard about the good and the bad and are working for reform of the current system.

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