The Guardian Ad Litem is a trained professional appointed by the court to represent the best interests of minor children in disputed custody cases. These Guardians investigate the various aspects of the case by interviewing the children, the parents, and others who may have an interest in the resolution of the custody dispute.As a result of the investigation, the Guardian makes a recommendation to the court as to who should be granted primary custody and what degree of visitation by the non-custodial party would be appropriate. Because of the highly sensitive and emotional nature of the placement of minor children, the Superior Court Judges Council created strict requirements for certification of Guardians Ad Litem.
What are the Qualifications to Become a Guardian?
In order to be certified as a Guardian Ad Litem, individuals must:
- Be a member in good standing of the State Bar of Georgia.
- Have practiced law for a minimum of five years.
- Have handled or observed six custody matters from start to finish.
- Have attended the Guardian Ad Litem Seminar sponsored by the Cobb County Superior Court.
- Have attended the Cobb County Seminar for Divorcing Parents.
- Either belong to Family Law Section of the State Bar or have attended a minimum of three hours Continuing Legal Education each year in a topic related to Family Law as determined by the Cobb County Guardian Ad Litem Program.
- Agree to submit to a personal background check through the completion of a NCIC form.
- Review the Guardian Ad Litem handbook and submit a signed verification form.
Upon completion of these requirements, the attorney’s name is added to a list of certified Guardians that is supplied to the judges and counsel upon request.
How are Guardians Appointed?
Guardians Ad Litem are appointed one of three ways: the Judge may appoint a Guardian, the attorneys can agree upon a Guardian or the Guardian Ad Litem office may appoint a Guardian from a list of certified Guardians. Once a Guardian Ad Litem is appointed to a case the appropriate orders are filed and copies are sent to the counsel for each party or to the individual party if he is not represented.
For additional information please contact the ADR office at 770-528-1812.