The Guardian Ad Litem

Guardian ad litem (GAL) literally means “guardian for the suit.” A guardian ad litem in Virginia is an attorney appointed by a judge to assist the court in determining a client’s best interests, which can be different from advocating for what the client wants, and to bring balance to the decision-making process.

The court may appoint guardians ad litem for children in juvenile and domestic relations courts.  The role and responsibility of the GAL is to represent, as an attorney, the child’s best interests before the court. The GAL is a full and active participant in the proceedings who independently investigates, assesses and advocates for the child’s best interests.