Private Guardian ad Litem for Parenting Plans
Going through a divorce proceeding will affect your family structure, which is why it’s important to come up with a parenting plan that has your child’s best interests in mind. A parenting plan is a visitation agreement that describes how the parents plan to exercise their legal rights and responsibilities to their child after the divorce is finalized.
Even when the separation is amicable, coming up with an arrangement that works for both parties can be difficult. What you believe to be best for your child may not be what the other party thinks is best, and it can be difficult for a family law judge to come up with the best arrangement when their evaluation is limited.
This is where a private guardian ad litem comes in. If you’re having difficulty coming up with a parenting plan, reach out to a family law attorney for legal assistance.
What is a private guardian ad Litem for parenting plans?
A private guardian ad litem (PGAL) is a private attorney who’s assigned to custody and visitation cases to make sure that your child’s rights are protected and that their best interests are represented in a Utah custody and visitation dispute. A PGAL can be appointed by the court when there are child custody and parent-time issues, or if there are allegations of abuse or neglect and neither party is indigent. If you’re going through a custody battle, consult with a child custody attorney to get legal help for your case.
Who pays for the private guardian ad Litem?
The fees and expenses for private guardians ad Litem are paid for by the parties. Typically, the PGAL charges a retainer fee and bills an hourly rate. The Utah family court then divides the payment equitable among the parties based on their respective resources.
What does a private guardian ad Litem do?
Once appointed, the PGAL conducts an investigation to determine your child’s best interests. This will involve interviews with family members and reviewing school records and medical records. Your child may also be interviewed if they possess the capacity to do a meaningful interview, and the interview won’t be detrimental to them.
The purpose of the PGAL’s investigation is to determine your child’s goals and concerns regarding custody and visitations in order to make a recommendation to the judge. The PGAL is also responsible for keeping your child up to date with what’s going on with your family law case.
What are the obligations of a private GAL?
According to family laws, a guardian ad litem in Utah is obligated to:
- Represent the best interests of the child.
- Conduct independent investigation to have a clear understanding of the child’s situation and needs.
- Conduct witness interviews and evaluate records related to the child and their family.
- Personally meet and interview the child, if no statutory exceptions apply.
- Determine the child’s goals and concerns about custody and visitation.
- Keep the child advised on what’s happening in their case.
- Attend hearing and conferences, and present witnesses and exhibits, to protect the best interests of the child.
- Identify and advocate for community resources that protect the child’s best interest.
- Participate in all appeals unless excused by the court.
If you’re looking for a private guardian ad litem for parenting plans, our experienced family law attorneys can help you protect your child’s best interests. Contact us at Wᴀʟᴅʀᴏɴ Lᴀᴡ Gʀᴏᴜᴘ and take control of your family’s legal affairs today!