Most cases involving children, such as custody and visitation disputes, are resolved by parents out of court through negotiation. There are, however, some unique and highly volatile cases which involve children where the court appoints a Guardian ad Litem (GAL). The judge will specify the type of appointment in the case as one of the of the following:
Child’s Best Interest Attorney: An attorney appointed by the court for the purpose of protecting the child’s best interest. The attorney is not bound to the child’s objectives or directives, and makes an independent assessment of what is in the child’s best interest. The attorney will then advocate for the child’s best interest in court.
Child’s Attorney: An attorney appointed by the court to serve as the attorney for the child. The attorney owes the same duties of undivided loyalty, confidentiality, and competent representation that are due to an adult client. This attorney is appointed when the child needs a voice before the court, including when a child may have interests that are distinct from the child’s parents.
A Guardian ad Litem (GAL) is appointed by the court through a court order. The court can appoint a GAL on its own motion, both parties can agree that a GAL is needed, or one party can request a hearing on a motion seeking for the appointment of the GAL.
When a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) is appointed, or ordered, by the court, the court will ultimately determine a reasonable fee or compensation for the services rendered by the GAL. GAL fees are treated as court costs, and may be awarded against the non-prevailing party; however, the court has discretion in how the cost will be assigned to the parties.
Evans Law Firm, PLLC, Biloxi, MS- Guardian ad Litem protects children's rights.
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