What is a Guardian ad Litem?

A Guardian ad Litem (often referred to as a “GAL”) is an attorney that is appointed by the Court to represent the interests of the children. GALs must be qualified by the Commonwealth. If you are in Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, their fees are regulated by the Commonwealth (in Circuit Court, GALs fees are not so capped). A GAL is to, in essence, be the “eyes and ears” of the Court. He/she investigates the matter, speaks to the parties, the children, and all relevant persons to come to an opinion as to what is in the children’s best interest. The GAL then makes a report to the Court of his/her findings, which Courts usually give great weight. A useful reference is the Standards to Govern the Performance of Guardians ad Litem for Children, ordered to be drafted by the Supreme Court of Virginia.
 

http://www.courts.state.va.us/courtadmin/aoc/cip/programs/gal/children/gal_performance_standards_children.pdf

Kellam T. Parks
Managing Member of Parks Zeigler, PLLC