When a legal issue that comes before the Court involves matters that will affect the lives of children the services of a guardian ad litem is sometimes utilized to ensure that the best interest of the child is observed. Essentially, anytime a Court needs additional information in order to make an informed decision as to a matter involving a child, whether in a divorce or a juvenile deprivation proceeding, a guardian ad litem (GAL) is usually appointed to investigate what solutions would be in the best interest of the child. O.C.G.A §15-11-105 is the statute that outlines the factors that a guardian ad litem should consider in this determination of what is in the child’s best interest. For instance, the physical safety of the child, mental health and development, evidence of domestic violence and the child’s wishes and long-term goals are just a few.
Georgia Courts have the authority to appoint a guardian ad litem in domestic cases that involve minor children. In these cases they can assist with issues related to custody or visitation. Often times a guardian ad litem will evaluate a case and report back to the Court on the living condition of the parties and their interaction with the child. While a guardian ad litem’s recommendation as to custody or visitation is not binding on the Court it will be strongly considered. Therefore, it is best to cooperate with the guardian as they conduct their evaluation. As far as the payment of the guardian ad litem, the parties involved in the dispute are responsible for compensating the guardian ad litem. However, the guardian is only able to bill for the actual amount of time spent working on the case.
The Faucette Law Firm specializes in divorce and family law cases. Our office is located in Douglasville and Atlanta. If you have any questions regarding any family law, custody, divorce or child support related issue contact our law firm today at (770) 485-6633.