South Carolina Law Firm Video Frequently Asked Questions
Guardian Ad Litem
A Guardian Ad Litem is an attorney who gets involved in a family court case involving children where there is a dispute between parents regarding issues of custody and visitation. A guardian can either be appointed by a court or agreed upon between parties or their attorneys. The purpose of the guardian is to perform an investigation that determines the best interests of the children in the case. Although guardians cannot make specific recommendations on custody and visitation unless the court specifically asks them to, their role is very important because they give the judge information he or she cannot necessarily get for him/herself regarding the children, parents, families, and home environments, which are things the judge will use to make decisions on custody and visitation. Guardians are paid depending on the circumstances of each case. Most commonly, fees are divided evenly between the parties. There is an initial payment and an hourly payment that the parties are usually equally responsible for. Guardians can also be paid through court orders that the payment be paid in a certain way, or when parties agree to do it a different way. It is important to keep in mind that these guardian fees are usually paid outside of the payment you make to your attorney, which means it is important to budget properly for cases where you think a guardian might be involved, not only for your attorney, but also for the guardian once they perform their investigation.