Guardian Ad Litem

A Guardian Ad Litem, or GAL, is an individual appointed by the court to represent the best interests of a child in a Juvenile or Domestic case.

Juvenile Court

We represent the best interests of children who are the subject of abuse, neglect, and dependency proceedings in the juvenile court. In addition to making recommendations to the court regarding protective services and custody, we advocate for them within childrens’ services and foster care agencies. We make sure children get any treatment they need, and we help them maintain important relationships. We ensure that all of the institutions involved in their lives hear their voices loud and clear.

This comprises a large part of our pro bono work each year.

Non-attorneys can volunteer with their local Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program to be a GAL in some circumstances. Follow the resource links below for more information about volunteering.

Domestic Relations Court

We also represent the best interest of children in divorce and disputed custody proceedings. Even if there are no allegations of abuse or neglect, it is important that a court making decisions about where and with whom a child will live hear the voice of that child. We do this work on appointment from the domestic relations court.

I just found out we have a Guardian Ad Litem. Now what?

The best thing to do, is to contact the Guardian Ad Litem’s office as soon as possible to setup an initial appointment, and pay your retainer. 

Blog Post: 7 things to get right with a Guardian Ad Litem

 

Resources:
Ohio State Bar Association – Guardian Ad Litem FAQ
Ohio Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)
Ohio Child Protection Law Reform Initiative

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