Guardian Ad Litem (GAL)

Definition - What does Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) mean?

A guardian ad litem (GAL) is an individual appointed by a court of law to represent the best interest of an underage child in a divorce proceeding or custody dispute. Although attorneys are most often appointed as GALs, some parts of the United States have provisions that also allow volunteers or social workers to be appointed as GALs.

In some states, a guardian ad litem is also referred to as a court appointed special advocate (CASA).

Justipedia explains Guardian Ad Litem (GAL)

In a divorce and/or custody dispute, the court may believe that a child’s best interest is not being considered by either of the parents. The court will appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL) to represent the child. Either one of the parents can also request the appointment of a guardian ad litem if they feel that their child’s interests needs to be protected by a neutral third party. GALs are also appointed in child abuse or neglect cases. Being a court appointed witness, the main role of a GAL is to observe the family and interview people who are part of the child's life in order to make a recommendation regarding the custody and visitation arrangements that are best for the child.

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