Duties of the Guardian Ad Litem Utah
The two main contentions of a Utah Divorce case involve either child custody or finances. Many times both spouses are claiming that the other spouse has acted abusively toward the children and for that reason the abusive parent should not be awarded custody. It’s tough to determine who is telling the truth in such situations and so the Utah Legislature has provided children with protection in the form of a Guardian Ad Litem Utah (“GAL”).
A Guardian Ad Litem is an attorney appointed by the court. The GAL’s duties are to the children not the parties. The GAL independently represent the children of a divorcing couple to make sure the children’s best interests are being represented. Thus the GAL is the Attorney for Kids. The Guardian Ad Litem Utah meets with the children and the parents to try to get a feel of what would be best for the children. The GAL then makes recommendations to the court based on the GAL’s assessment. More good information about Guardian Ad Litem’s in Utah can be found by clicking here.
Costs of a GAL
Unless a party is indigent, the parties are responsible for the costs and attorney fees of the GAL. This is especially true for private GALs and Utah courts are trending toward using private GALs more than public GALs.
Obligations of the GAL
A Guardian Ad Litem Utah is statutorily obligated to do the following:
- represent the best interests of the child;
- conduct or supervise an ongoing, independent investigation in order to obtain, first-hand, a clear understanding of the situation and needs of the child;
- interview witnesses and review relevant records pertaining to the child and the child’s family, including medical, psychological, and school records;
- personally meet with the child, unless certain statutory exceptions apply:
- personally interview the child, unless certain statutory exceptions apply:
- determine the child’s goals and concerns regarding custody or visitation; and
- keep the child advised of the happenings of case;
- prepare for and attend all mediation hearings and all court conferences and hearings, and present witnesses and exhibits as necessary to protect the child’s best interests;
- identify community resources to protect the best interests of the child and advocate for those resources; and
- participate in all appeals unless excused by the court.
If you believe your case may have a need for a Guardian ad Litem Utah, give our Utah Divorce Lawyers a call at 801.413.1753 for a free consultation to find out more about getting a GAL appointed and how that may affect your case.