The ABC’s of GAL’s.

We have written quite a bit about guardian ad litems here in the Bangor Daily News and elsewhere and we have thought to ourselves, “How much does the average person reading our blogs, know about the terminology commonly used in these articles and in the courtroom?”
It wasn’t until just over a year and half ago that we knew many of these words and how they were used.

Here are the more common terms you will hear when discussing guardian ad litems:

advocacy – active support; especially the act of pleading or arguing for something; the act of pleading or arguing a case or a position;forceful persuasion.

anecdotal evidence – evidence for which there is an absence of documentation, which leaves verification dependent on the credibility of the party presenting the evidence.

bias – an inclination of temperament or outlook; especially : a personal and sometimes unreasoned judgment : prejudice c : an instance of such prejudice

controls – mechanisms to increase certainty that a function’s goals will be reached.

Ex parte communication- is a Latin phrase meaning “on one side only; by or for one party.” An ex parte communication occurs when a party to a case, or someone involved with a party, talks or writes to or otherwise communicates directly with the judge about the issues in the case without the other parties’ knowledge. Under the Judicial Code of Conduct, judges may not permit or consider exparte communication.

guardian ad litem – a person appointed by the court to protect the interests of a minor or legally incompetent person in a lawsuit. ad litem is Latin for “to the lawsuit.”

human services – programs that address human needs ranging from basic living needs to life enhancement programs such as cultural programs.

immunity – the quality of being unaffected by something; “immunity to criticism” invulnerability – the property of being invulnerable; the property of being incapable of being hurt (physically or emotionally) immunity – an act exempting someone; “he was granted immunity from prosecution”

internal control – a process, effected by an entity’s leadership, designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the achievement of objectives in the following categories:

• effectiveness and efficiency of operations;
• reliability of financial reporting; and
• compliance with applicable laws and regulations

jurisprudence – the science or philosophy of law; a system or body of law; the course of court decisions.

Likert scale – a rating scale designed to measure user attitudes or reactions by quantifying subjective information. Participants indicate where along a continuum their attitude or reaction resides.

performance audit – an objective and systematic examination of a program’s economy, efficiency and effectiveness to: improve operations; facilitate decision making by parties with responsibility to oversee or initiate corrective action; and, improve public

professional boundaries – rules and limits to interactions that are necessary to maintain independence and prevent abuse of power.

social service – an organized activity to improve the condition of disadvantaged people in society.

social work – the professional work of helping to advance the social conditions of a community, and especially of the disadvantaged, by providing psychological counseling, guidance, and assistance, especially in the form of social services.

testimony – a common form of evidence derived from reported information (from inquiries, interviews and questionnaires) that is tested and assessed for reliability using corroboration or substantiation

We are sure most of these terms are terms you recognize and use in your day to day routine. But we do know some of the terms are unique to the legal world of divorce, custody and guardian ad litems. In a lot of the cases that we are being made of aware of by our readers, some terms stand out more than others:
Bias, ex parte communication, professional boundaries and immunity come up often.

Please let us know any terms you would like clarification on and feel free to contact us on any issue regarding your divorce, custody or guardian ad litem issues. or Megalalert, Megalhelp and Nationalguardianadlitemalert on Facebook.

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