Guardian ad Litem

Honolulu Guardian Ad Litem Lawyers

Advocating for the Best Interests of the Child

A Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) is crucial in family law proceedings. In essence, a GAL is an attorney court-appointed to represent the interests of children involved in family law cases. Their primary duty is to act as the child's legal advocate, ensuring that the child's voice is heard and their rights are protected within the legal process. GALs are not aligned with either parent's interests; instead, they impartially assess the circumstances and make recommendations that serve the child's best interests.

The significance of a Guardian Ad Litem in child custody and divorce cases cannot be overstated. GALs are advocates for the child, but their role goes beyond simply championing the child's wishes. They undertake comprehensive investigations, considering the child's physical and emotional well-being, relationship with each parent, and living environment. Based on this research, GALs recommend what is in the child's best interests to the court. This approach ensures that decisions regarding custody, visitation, and other aspects of family law are made with the child's welfare as the top priority.

At Smith & Sturdivant LLLC, we have a strong track record in representing the interests of children as Guardian Ad Litems. Our practice is exclusively focused on family law matters, and Attorney Justin L. Sturdivant has extensive experience serving as a GAL in child custody cases. We recognize the profound importance of acting in the child's best interests and ensuring their well-being in challenging family law situations.

If you require Guardian Ad Litem representation in Honolulu, we invite you to schedule a free consultation with our experienced attorneys. Call (808) 201-3898 or contact us online today.

When Is a Guardian Ad Litem Appointed?

A Guardian Ad Litem is often appointed in family law cases marked by high levels of conflict and disagreement, particularly when issues involving a child's medical, educational, or mental health are at the center of the dispute. These conflicts may arise when parents have differing views on addressing these critical aspects of their child's life. In such situations, the court may step in to protect the child's best interests. 

The role of the GAL is to investigate and provide an impartial assessment of what would be in the child's best interests, considering the child's unique needs and circumstances. This can help resolve disputes and guide the court in making informed decisions prioritizing the child's well-being.

In cases where a GAL is needed, the legal process typically involves the parents covering the costs associated with the GAL's services. This means that both parents are responsible for the GAL's fees. The court may order the appointment of a GAL and outline the financial responsibilities of each parent in this regard. Parents must understand their financial obligations and cooperate to ensure the GAL can effectively carry out their duties to represent the child's interests.

The appointment of a Guardian Ad Litem is a formal process overseen by the court. The judge presiding over the case evaluates the circumstances and determines whether the appointment of a GAL is necessary to protect the child's interests. Once the decision to appoint a GAL is made, the court will issue an order outlining the GAL's responsibilities and the scope of their authority.

Duties and Responsibilities of a Guardian Ad Litem

A GAL's fundamental responsibility is to thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding the child's well-being and welfare. This involves inspecting relevant records, notes, or any other documentation pertinent to the case. 

Additionally, the GAL plays a crucial role in interviewing the child and the child's family members. These interviews help the GAL gain valuable insights into the child's living conditions, relationships, and any unique needs or concerns they may have. Through this investigative process, the GAL can form an informed perspective on what would be in the child's best interests, which is paramount in family law cases.

Advocacy for the Child’s Welfare in Court

The GAL is a strong advocate for the child throughout the legal proceedings. They are informed and involved in all hearings and proceedings related to the child. This active participation ensures that the child's best interests are consistently represented and protected in court. 

The GAL's role is to act as a voice for the child, advocating for decisions that are in the child's welfare, even if those decisions may differ from the wishes of the parents or other parties involved in the case.

Reporting to the Court and Making Recommendations

A vital aspect of the GAL's responsibilities is maintaining open communication with the court. They are required to report to the court detailing the actions they have taken to safeguard the child's best interests. These reports outline their investigative findings and may include information about the child's preferences or requests. 

Importantly, the GAL may offer recommendations to the court based on their assessment of what would be in the child's best interests. These recommendations are significant in guiding the court's decisions regarding custody, visitation, and other matters affecting the child.

Ensuring Impartiality and Fairness in the Proceedings

One of the cornerstones of the GAL's role is maintaining impartiality and fairness throughout the proceedings. They do not align themselves with any specific party's interests, ensuring that their focus remains solely on advocating for the child's welfare. This impartial stance contributes to the overall fairness of the legal process, helping to ensure that the child's rights and best interests are protected without bias.

Smith & Sturdivant LLLC's Guardian Ad Litem Services

At Smith & Sturdivant LLLC, we bring a wealth of experience to Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) representation in Honolulu. Attorney Justin L. Sturdivant has firsthand experience serving as a GAL, which provides us with unique insights into the intricacies of this role. This experience enables us to navigate complex GAL assignments and effectively advocate for the children's best interests in family law cases.

Protecting a child's welfare is our top priority. Please contact us at (808) 201-3898.

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  • “Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.”
    I can't express enough on how thankful I am to have found Atty Sturdivant and his Legal Assistant, Sarena. They helped me tremendously get through a process that I never thought I could have overcome - a divorce. They made this a very smooth and painless process. As a result, I am relieved. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
    - Floriza F.
  • “They will always have your back, these family lawyers are second to none!!”
    Bottom line, if anyone is looking for the highest quality in service and care, wishing to be in the best possible hands you could be during the delicate and sensitive legal matters you may need assistance with, save some time and make the right decision, talk to Mr. Justin and Mr. Daniel, you will not regret it, they will always have your back, these family lawyers are second to none!!
    - Juan S.
  • “Did a great job of being a friend as well as attorney.”
    I went thru an extremely painful divorce. One I never saw coming, and one I never wanted to happen. Justin was there to guide me and advise me when needed. Always available to see me, or talk on the phone when I had questions. Sad as the situation was, Justin seemed to feel what I was going thru and did a great job of being a friend as well as attorney. His fee was very fair, and I would highly recommend him to anyone dealing with these issues.
    - Salvatore
  • “I felt like he was straight with me, both good and bad, unlike other lawyers I've met with.”
    Justin Sturdivant met with me personally and took the time to answer my questions. I felt like he was straight with me, both good and bad, unlike other lawyers I've met with. If I have to go forward with my divorce I'll be going with Mr. Sturdivant.
    - Johnny
  • “He not only gave me a fair and equitable retainer fee, he got the results I was looking for.”
    I contacted Justin when I was in need of an attorney and he was exactly what I needed. He not only gave me a fair and equitable retainer fee, he got the results I was looking for in less time than I had personally allocated for when I originally encountered the issue. I was not only satisfied but ecstatic, I would use him for all my issues from here on forward, should I have any.
    - Greg