You may have heard the term “guardian ad litem” and wondered what they were and when they were appointed.
In a Florida divorce or child custody case, a guardian ad litem is a professional who looks out for the best interests of a child. Florida Statutes Section 61.401 describes the circumstances under which a guardian ad litem is appointed:
In an action for dissolution of marriage or for the creation, approval, or modification of a parenting plan, if the court finds it is in the best interest of the child, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem to act as next friend of the child, investigator or evaluator, not as attorney or advocate. The court in its discretion may also appoint legal counsel for a child to act as attorney or advocate; however, the guardian and the legal counsel shall not be the same person.
In such actions which involve an allegation of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect as defined in s. 39.01, which allegation is verified and determined by the court to be well-founded, the court shall appoint a guardian ad litem for the child. The guardian ad litem shall be a party to any judicial proceeding from the date of the appointment until the date of discharge.
If you have questions about your family law case, including whether a guardian ad litem should be appointed, schedule a consultation with The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover at (813) 443-0615 or fill out our contact form.