Indianapolis Guardian Ad Litem Lawyer
A Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) is an attorney or trained volunteer appointed by the court to represent a child’s best interests in cases involving juvenile delinquency, child abuse, or neglect. In many of these cases, the court has determined that a Child in Need of Services (CHINS) needs a neutral representative that can assess the situation and provide a recommendation to the court.
People who serve as court-appointed GALs must go through a thorough training process before they can volunteer. GAL training consists of education on a variety of topics such as the identification and treatment of child abuse and neglect as well as early childhood and adolescent development. One portion of the training also includes information related to how the attorney GAL represents children.
Role of a GAL
The GAL is responsible for conducting an investigation into the child’s situation. During this investigation the GAL will interview people including the parents, teachers, siblings, and others in the child’s life to gain a better understanding of the environment.
The GAL will provide a recommendation to the court based on their research and review. The GAL will take into consideration what the child’s wishes are but is responsible for advocating a recommendation that is considered to be in the child’s best interest, which may not agree with the child’s wishes.
Ultimately, the court can choose to accept the GALs recommendation or reject it.
Each Indianapolis family law attorney in our practice has attended GAL training and has served the courts of Marion and Hendricks counties as GAL volunteers. Only a judge can appoint a GAL, but a lawyer or social worker can request that a judge appoint a GAL in a case. If you have questions about how a GAL can impact your family law case, contact us.