Reasons to Abolish The Role Of Guardian Ad Litems in Divorce and Custody Cases.

Just so no one thinks we are the only group that have realized that GAL’S are in need of oversight and accountability, this report that we have published excerpts from dates back to the spring of 2002. It goes much further than just wanting corrective measures as we here at Megalalert want. The report states that the role of Guardian Ad Litem be abolished.

Many concerns have been raised about the use of guardians ad litem. Most complaints have centered on guardian actions in family court cases, primarily in contested divorce actions. Complaints have focused on guardian bias, lack of oversight and accountability, inadequate training, and inappropriate communications between guardians and judges.

The flawed rationale for appointing these GALs in custody cases is that all parents, who are presumed competent to raise their children and beyond the state’s heavy hand prior to the commencement of the divorce case, are somehow automatically transformed into mere combatants inherently blind to their children’s needs, and whose offspring now need the wisdom and control of some typically young lawyer, needing the fee, to avoid falling into the vortex of the litigation.

People told us the multiplicity of the guardian roles can be confusing, especially to parents who may not always understand why guardians were appointed.subject to definition in any way consistent with appropriate judicial proceedings.

Guardians ad litem must be abolished in private custody cases for well- established reasons:

1) the role is not subject to definition in any way consistent with appropriate judicial proceedings

2) there is no documented benefit from their use

3) they undermine and compromise fact finding by usurping the role of the judge and depriving parents of due process

4) they undermine parental authority and privacy

5) the costs and fees resulting from their use ultimately deprives parents and children of resources that would actually benefit the child

6) in child abuse and domestic violence cases, they routinely advocate against the child’s safety and protection and directly contravene the child’s interests

7) they are unaccountable for their actions.

As shown here, the road to Hell is indeed paved with good intentions and detours through the family courts.

Credit: Richard Ducote

The court is scheduling a meeting for Thursday, May 31 at 4 pm in the Cumberland County Courthouse to hear from interested parties and the public. We hope you will be able to attend and share your views. This is an important meeting regarding guardian ad litem reform and we need your support.

Maine Supreme Judicial Court
205 Newbury Street
Portland, ME 04101

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2 thoughts on “Reasons to Abolish The Role Of Guardian Ad Litems in Divorce and Custody Cases.

  1. Great content Cathy.

    No oversight in definitely the biggest problem and it has been for many years.

    Hiring a first GAL was the worst thing I ever did in my divorce process. Not because the process couldn’t work if done properly but because that GAL was lazy and didn’t do what she told me she was going to do with the investigation, lots of excuses followed by yet more excuses why the investigation was not getting done. When I complained that she wasn’t doing the investigation in a timely manner and not acting in the best interests of my child, she became defensive and flipped the switch that I had an anger management problem because I was frustrated that my then three year old son was being driven around by my ex-wife under the influence of drugs on a daily basis without any heed for the warning labels. I was assured that this would be investigated since she had about nine different doctors. She interviewed their secretaries or assistants, not the doctors. I am quite sure they are not going to say, “Yeah, my boss gives oxycontin to all his arthritis patients” Incapacitated 5-6 days a month because of migraines and cortisone shots in her back, long history being a borderline personality disorder with suicide ideation and self-mutilation in front of her now adult children. I do not drink, drug and I have always been employed

    Perhaps she should have tried to least look at her Guardian Ad Litem Handbook because she not only violated it many times but she loved to forward all my emails to my ex-wifes attorney, but she never forwarded them to me.

    See ya on May 31st in Portland, hope to see many of you there.

  2. My family just went through exactly what your article warns about with a Guardian Ad Litem,also a family therapist, in Ellsworth. The whole hearing was tried in her report,acting as defense for the defendants against all the blatant neglect issues, and never even asking the child involved where he would like to live (the first criteria!). There’s so much more–it was mindblowing. When we filed a complaint we learned that unlike other courts, in Probate court there is no process for complaints for GALs in a case which is no longer in motion.
    Thank you for writing this. We’re still recovering and it’s good to know others recognize the problem.

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