What is a Guardian ad Litem?

A Guardian ad Litem is an attorney, psychologist or social worker who has been appointed
by the Domestic Relations or Juvenile Court to represent a child in a legal proceeding and/
or to advise the Court as to what they believe is in the child’s best interests. Individuals
who serve as a Guardian ad Litem have completed training provided by the Ohio Supreme
Court. Further, each county has additional requirements which individuals must meet in
order to serve as a Guardian ad Litem in that county.

There are many reasons why a Guardian ad Litem may be appointed. In some cases, one or
both of the parties may feel that a Guardian is needed to fully represent the child’s wishes
and/or interests. In some cases, the Court may be concerned about a parent’s behavior and
feel further investigation is necessary. Sometimes a Guardian ad Litem is chosen simply
from the list of approved Guardians; other times, the parties and their counsel are allowed
to mutually agree upon a Guardian.

A Guardian ad Litem must conduct his or her investigation in accordance with
Superintendence Rule 48 which includes interviewing the parties and the child, observing
the child with each party, and obtaining school and medical records. The extent of the
Guardian ad Litem’s investigation depends upon the facts and issues in each particular

A Guardian ad Litem is paid based upon an hourly rate (the same as most domestic
relations attorneys); however, the hourly rate for a Guardian ad Litem is typically less than
that of an attorney and varies by county. A determination as to the division of the Guardian
ad Litem’s fees is typically made by the Court or by agreement of the parties at the end of
the case.

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