Often in custody matters a court will appoint a Guardian ad litem (“GAL”) who is a licensed attorney and serves as the advocate for minor children.
There are Supreme Court of Virginia Rules that provide GALs standards by which they should adhere in their representation of children. GALs also are required to take certification courses due to the unique issues that they face as attorneys for children.
During the process, the GALs often will provide interim guidance as to what their concerns may be. GALs make recommendations to the Court based on facts he or she has learned as to what parental arrangements serves the best interest of the child(ren).
In working as a child’s advocate, the GAL may meet with the children at each parent’s house, at school, or at other locations. Home visits may be scheduled or unannounced.
Some guardians request you to complete a questionnaire and/or to sign authorizations for them to allow them to obtain information about the parent or about your children. Keeping a GAL informed throughout a matter can be helpful and having your attorney checking in with them periodically can be beneficial in seeking your objectives for your children.