In Sandusky County Juvenile Court, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) serve as a Guardian ad Litem in Children Services Cases. A Guardian ad Litem (GAL) is appointed to assist Juvenile Court in determining what is in the “best interest” of the minor child. In Private Custody cases the Court may appoint an Attorney with specific GAL training to serve as the Guardian ad Litem.
The Judge or Magistrate will appoint a GAL. Sandusky County Juvenile Court has a list of Attorneys that have completed their GAL training requirements. The Court will rotate through the current list of Attorneys when considering a GAL appointment. Many times the same GAL is reappointed to represent the best interest of a child in subsequent court cases.
The Supreme Court of Ohio outlines the GAL’s responsibilities, a GAL must:
WHO PAYS FOR A GAL?
In Sandusky County Juvenile Court, the deposit for a GAL in private custody matters are generally split between the parties. SEARCH HERE for the cost of a Guardian ad Litem deposit. Throughout the case the GAL will submit invoices for their time and the parties will be ordered to deposit additional monies, if necessary. In Children Services cases CASA covers the cost to the GAL.
WHAT IF I DON’T WANT A GAL?
You can make your wishes known in the hearing; however, if the Court orders a GAL, you could be held in Contempt of Court if you fail to cooperate with the GAL in your case.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE GAL IS APPOINTED?
After the Court Orders a GAL, you should expect one or more home visits where the GAL can see you interact with the child. In the meantime, the GAL will review court pleadings, request records regarding the child, speak to witnesses/doctors/school officials and gather other information for an investigation.
DOES THE GAL’S RECOMMENDATION BECOME A FINAL ORDER?
The GAL must give the Court a written report seven days before the final hearing so that the report can be admitted into evidence. The GAL also must be available to testify at the hearing. If these requirements are met, the Court will consider the GAL’s recommendation before giving its Final Order.