In Georgia, the court hearing a child custody case (including divorces) has the power to appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the child’s interests and express those interests to the court. This article answers a couple of common questions about guardians ad litem in Georgia. For more information about Georgia divorce law, see our Georgia Divorce page or our Macon Child Custody page.
Why is a Guardian Ad Litem appointed?
A guardian ad litem is someone (most times an attorney) appointed by the Court to represent the child or children in a legal action
What does a guardian ad litem do?
In Georgia, the guardian ad litem has the power to investigate the entire background, living conditions, and family relationships of the child, along with any other related matters, in order to make a recommendation to the court. The guardian ad litem can make home visits with the parties and speak with anyone in person, by phone, or any other method of communication. The guardian can also, with the court’s help, subpoena witnesses to testify and to appear in court. The guardian ad litem uses this information to recommend the placement, visitation, custody, or other arrangement or conditions that would serve the best interests of the child. The Guardian usually makes a report to the court recommending a specific outcome. The parties do not have to accept the report, but can present their own witnesses and evidence in court. The judge will make the final determination on these issues of custody in Georgia. However, the guardian’s report, if presented to the parties prior to trial, can sometimes lead the parents to decide to settle these issues rather than continue on to trial.