Why have a Guardian Ad Litem in a Family Law Case?

Florida Statute 61.403 outlines the powers and authority that the Court can give to an appointed Guardian Ad Litem (GAL). Family courts regularly appoint GALs to represent the best interests of minor children in a case. Oftentimes, those appointed representatives are attorneys, but it is not required.

A GAL is tasked with investigating the pleadings and allegations of the parties with respect to a child. That person can review records, interview the child, and potential witnesses or others who might have information about a child. A GAL also has the authority to request that the Court order evaluations for the parents or child and seek out impartial expert examinations.

A GAL can make written and oral recommendations to the Court. Any written report must be provided to the parties at least 20 days prior to any hearing it will be presented to or considered by the Court. As a party to the action, a GAL will receive all written pleadings, notices, and other documents filed in the action. They can also file their own motions before the Court and participate in any proceeding that is part of the case, such as a deposition, status conference, mediation, or hearing. However, if a GAL is not a licensed attorney, they cannot act as such and would be required to act through an attorney. They are
also required to submit recommendations to the Court regarding any stipulation or agreement that affects the minor child.

A GAL can serve as an important witness in any family law action where issues related to children are contested. One of the primary benefits is that a child’s opinions, wishes, and sometimes, statements can be considered by the Court through a GAL’s report or recommendations. That can prevent children from being overly-involved in litigation that concerns them, while also giving them a voice.

The lead attorneys at Mulligan and Associates have served as GALs and Attorney Ad Litems in numerous cases involving children. In cases where we represent parents, we are familiar with the individuals who can serve in this capacity and provide a fair and independent recommendation on behalf of a client’s child.

With over 30 years of combined experience in litigation involving children, we strive to provide them with best representation in the field.