What is a Guardian Ad Litem?

Feb 16, 2024 | Family Law

Thomas M. Clark, Esq., (717) 221-7952, tclark@tuckerlaw.com

Appointment of a Guardian Ad Litem

The court may appoint counsel to represent your child if the court determines that the appointment will assist in resolving issues in the custody proceeding. If a child has legal counsel and a guardian ad litem (GAL), counsel shall represent the legal interests of the child and the guardian ad litem shall represent the best interests of the child. 23 Pa.C.S. §5335(a)

  • The court may assess a cost upon the parties as otherwise provided by law. The guardian ad litem must be an attorney at law.

Powers and Duties

The GAL shall be charged with representation of the legal interests and the best interests of the child during the proceedings and shall do all of the following: (1) Meet with the child (2) Be given access to relevant court records, reports of examinations, psychological reports, and school records. (3) Participate in all proceedings. (4) Conduct such further investigation necessary to protect the best interests of the child. (5) Interview potential witnesses, including the child’s parents and caretakers . . . The GAL may [examine, cross-examine, & present evidence] . . . . (6) Make recommendations in a written report to the court . . . including any services necessary to address the child’s needs & safety. The court shall make the written report part of the record so it can be reviewed by the parties. The parties may file written comments regarding the contents of the report. (7) Explain the proceedings to the child . . . . (8) Advise the court of the child’s wishes . . . §5334(b)

GAL Testimony

A GAL may not testify . . . but may make legal argument based on relevant evidence that shall be subject to examination by the parties. §5334(d) For additional information, please contact Thomas Clark at tclark@tuckerlaw.com or at (717) 221-7952.

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