What is a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) and When Must a GAL Be Appointed?

appointed by a judge to assist the Court in determining the circumstances of the matter. The Virginia Code states that “every guardian ad litem shall faithfully represent the estate or other interest of the person under a disability for whom he is appointed, and it shall be the duty of the court to see that the interest of such defendant is so represented and protected.” The attorney who is appointed guardian ad litem provides independent advice to the Court (as compared to the attorneys advocating for one side or the other in the action) to bring balance to the decision-making process. The GAL may conduct interviews and investigations, make reports to the court and participate in court hearings or mediation sessions.

Recognized for his experience with catastrophic brain injury cases and claims involving minors and young children, Doug Landau has been asked and retained to be a Guardian Ad Litem in a number of Courts. The Herndon Reston area trial lawyer not only reviews the relevant medical and legal documents, he also speaks with and meets the family members involved in the case. Often times, in childrens’ personal injury cases, Landau is able to get the Defendant’s insurance company to pay the fees and expenses that arise from the necessity of the Guardian Ad Litem procedure.

The Office of the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of Virginia administers, maintains and distributes lists of attorneys who are qualified guardians ad litem. There are two separate programs: one for children through the juvenile and domestic relations district court and one for incapacitated persons (adults) through the circuit court.

For more information go to: https://www.courts.state.va.us/gal/home.html

6 responses on “What is a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) and When Must a GAL Be Appointed?

  1. Doug Post author

    No, we have not because in the typical injury or disability case, a parent, “Next Friend” or Court-Appointed lawyer is required to serve as a Guardian ad Litem for the under age party.

  2. Anna

    How can I get a guardian at litem appointed to a child. She is need of someone to advocate on her behalf to prevent any further irrversiable abusive damage from preventing her to carry on a “normal” life. This child is 14 going on 15yr and is suppose to undergo court ordered counseling but has followed up with treatments. This matter also involves the New Jersey DYFS. Can you please tell me what a can be done and where I can find some one to advocate of her behalf. Please email me at ahebera@gmail.com or 336-918-5282. She resides in New Jersey. I haven’t been able to get information pertaining to her welfare and this is beyond reckless endangerment of a minor child.

    I anticiapate on hearing from you. Thanks, Anna

  3. Jill

    How can a guardian ad litem be removed from a custody case? or changed? I have a very hostile guardian ad litem who has done nothing but attack me since the minute she has met me and believes all the lies my ex husband tells her.

  4. Garrison Charles Mason

    A GAL may also be required for someone incarcerated as a result of a felony conviction (misdemeanors do not count) pursuant to 8.01-9 of the code of Virginia.

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