What is a Guardian Ad Litem in Divorce?
Regardless of the situation that brought them there, children who are under the supervision of the Department of Children and Family, or who are involved in divorce, paternity, or other family law case, often need someone to look out for their best interests and to speak on their behalf. A Guardian ad Litem is appointed by the court to advocate the best interests of a child involved in a court proceeding.
A Guardian ad Litem is responsible for checking in with the child regularly and consistently, carrying out an objective investigation of the child’s living situation, relationships, school, and needs. The Guardian ad Litem is encouraged and expected to talk with the child, the child’s family, friends, neighbors, and school officials. The Guardian ad Litem reports back to the judge regularly and makes objective recommendations based on what they have seen and heard. The Guardian ad Litem is really looking out for the best interests of the child. Are orders of the court being carried out? Are the child’s needs being met? The unique perspective of a Guardian ad Litem is highly valued by judges in dependency court, divorce court, and other courts that need information in order to address the best interests of children.
The requirements to be a Guardian ad Litem vary by county in Florida. Commonly, a non-attorney who wishes to serve as a Guardian ad Litem must complete 30 hours of certification training, as well as 6 hours per year of refresher courses. Just about anyone with a desire to help children can volunteer. Volunteers may spend about 10 hours per month, on average, per child.
According to guardianadlitem.org, there are currently over 10,000 certified Guardian ad Litem volunteers, but the program is always seeking new volunteers to keep up with demand.
Are you interested in becoming an advocate for a Florida child in need? You can call 866.341.1GAL to learn more about the Florida Guardian ad Litem Program. If you are in a divorce, DeVoe Law Firm can help you, including any concerns about child custody, visitation rights, or timesharing.
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