Guardian Ad Litem (GAL)

Guardian ad Litem

What Is a Guardian ad Litem?

A Guardian ad Litem (GAL) acts in the capacity of “friend of the Court,” and most people think of the GAL as the attorney for the children, particularly in high conflict cases. GAL’s are mandatory in opposed Kinship Guardianship cases and are appointed by the court in other custody cases in which the minor cannot successfully represent himself or herself, their parents are not married, or both.

What Is the Role of a Guardian ad Litem?

The role of a GAL in New Mexico is distinct in that they are basically responsible for conducting an investigation and coming up with a resulting report and recommendation. Their findings and conclusions will directly inform the court’s decisions regarding child custody, especially when such cases become prolonged and complicated.

GALs often serve as a sort of “umpire” during difficult custody matters. For example, they serve an important role during relocation cases, in which one parent wants to move to another city or state with the children and the other parent opposes. Their purpose in such cases is to understand the family’s circumstances, determine the best course of action for the child(ren) involved, and advise the court regarding how to proceed in the best interests of the child(ren) they represent.

Guardian ad Litem Fees

Courts typically do not appoint GALs during divorce, and most divorcing couples choose not to appoint one due to the already challenging task of paying for both of their respective attorneys. When a couple is appointed one, the GAL’s fees are typically shared between the parties either equally or proportional to their incomes when there is a significant disparity in incomes.

Family Law Attorneys Serving Parents in Albuquerque

At Sandia Family Law, we understand that divorce and child custody proceedings can get very expensive very quickly. In our experience, having a GAL often yields positive results for parents and children alike, and judges typically look for reasonably priced GALs to appoint. We may be able to help you and your family by providing GAL services during your child custody matter, and we may be able to offer you a more affordable price. If you are appointed a representative for your child during a family law case, connect with a member of our team as soon as possible.

Call (505) 544-5126 or click to schedule your confidential consultation today.


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