Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Guardian ad Litem Reform Under Way in Connecticut

The Judiciary Committee has voted Raised Bill No. 494 out of the committee. This bill is intended to clarify the role of a guardian ad litem (GAL) in Connecticut. A GAL is appointed by the court to represent and to make recommendations regarding the best interests of a minor child in a family court proceeding when parents do not agree. Some of the bill’s major provisions are outlined below.

Selection of GAL. The bill would require courts to provide parties with a list of five eligible GALs who could serve in their case. If the parties cannot mutually select a GAL, the court will appoint one from this list. The court will enter specific orders regarding the scope of the GAL’s work and the rate at which the GAL is to be paid.

Removal of a GAL. The bill would allow parties to file a motion to remove a GAL. The court could hold a hearing on this motion.

GAL fees. The court can order that the parties pay reasonable GAL fees, but the court could not order that these fees be paid from a college savings account. The court can also order that GAL fees be calculated on a sliding scale basis.

The family lawyers of Brown, Paindiris & Scott have experience working with GALs. Check back for more updates on the outcome of this bill.