Guardian Ad Litem (GAL)
What does Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) mean?
A Guardian ad litem (GAL) is a person, usually a lawyer or social worker, appointed by the court to represent the best interests of a child in a divorce or parental rights and responsibilities case. The Guardian ad litem is required to meet with the child, investigate their case, and present recommendation in a written report, which is made available to the child's parents. The Guardian ad litem may also be expected to perform other duties such as interview the parents, teachers, doctors and other people who have knowledge of the child or family. Mental health and medical records may also be available to the Guardian ad litem.
When the Guardian ad litem is making recommendations to the court they are supposed to use the "best interest of the child" standard. For example, if the Guardian ad litem is supposed to make recommendation for where a child should live they will consider the child's age, the child's relationship with each parent, the stability of each parent's living situation, and the parent's ability to cooperate to rear the child prior to making their child custody recommendations.