Who Pays for a Guardian Ad Litem in a Divorce?
Navigating the turbulent waters of divorce can be challenging, especially when children are involved. One particular issue that often raises questions is the involvement of a guardian ad litem (GAL) in divorce proceedings. A GAL may be ordered if you’re dealing with a complicated child custody case and cannot resolve issues related to your parenting plan or parenting time without professional input.
A GAL is a legal representative who serves the best interests of a child. But who exactly foots the bill for this legal representative? Let's delve into this topic and shed some light on the matter.
The court has appointed a guardian ad litem
Let’s say you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse are involved in a contentious custody battle. The judge, concerned about the welfare of your minor child, orders the appointment of a guardian ad litem.
This court-appointed representative will advocate for the well-being and best interests of your children throughout your court proceedings. Their input will impact your child’s life and custody arrangement.
Who pays the guardian ad litem fee?
In most cases, the cost of the GAL is divided between the spouses undergoing a divorce. This expense is separate from your individual divorce attorney fees and is usually decided based on each party's financial capability.
The fee for a GAL can vary widely depending on several factors, including the complexity of the case, the length of time the GAL is needed, and the region in which you live. It could range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.
Can you get the fee waived?
It may be possible to get the fee waived, but it depends on your situation. If you can demonstrate financial hardship, the court may consider reducing or waiving the GAL fees. This typically involves submitting detailed financial information to the court for review.
Another option may be to request that the other party bear more or all of the GAL costs, particularly if they are in a better financial position than you are.
If you’re facing a divorce with GAL involvement, here are three tips to help you navigate this process:
- Don't panic. Having a GAL involved in your case doesn't necessarily mean things are going wrong. The role of a guardian ad litem is to make sure the best interests of the children are protected. Try to view them as an ally rather than an adversary.
- Be honest and open. Transparency is key when dealing with a GAL. They will likely want to meet with you, your children, and possibly other people involved in your children’s lives. Be forthright and cooperative in these interactions.
- Budget accordingly. If a GAL is ordered to take part in your divorce process, remember that this will be an additional cost. Plan your finances accordingly, and discuss potential payment plans or fee reductions with your attorney if necessary.
If you have more questions than answers about your divorce case, Hello Divorce may be able to help. Consider scheduling an online session with one of our attorneys for legal advice or other help. You can learn more about our services here.
Or, schedule a free 15-minute phone call to talk with someone who can explain the many a la carte services we provide.