Guardian Ad Litem or Custody Evaluation
In the past, many lawyers have hired custody evaluators to make recommendations on the custody and parenting time decisions to the court. In most instances those custody evaluators have been psychologists. An alternative that is open to you is the use of a Guardian ad Litem (GAL). While a psychologist has its place in such evaluations as they can perform tests like the MMPI or the IQ test. However, where mental issues or IQ are not involved then why would you incur these added costs? Generally custody evaluations by psychologists run from $3500 minimum to as much as $12,000 or more. In addition to the higher costs, it is not unusual for them to take months or even a year to finalize their report.
If the court appoints a GAL, that person can interview all people involved including family members, teachers, friends and the child. The GAL is an advocate for the child or children. The GAL generally submits a report 10 days before the hearing and the report can be considered by the court. With GAL the children’s wishes can be put before the court without the child having to testify or be interviewed by the court.
All of the attorneys of our firm are trained GALs. We have testified in numerous cases and have spent more than a thousand hours in performing our duties. If you are going to hire a custody evaluator, you should consider having your lawyer request the court to appoint a GAL. Generally an attorney GAL handles such matter at a rate less than their normally hourly rate as an attorney. If you have an interest in using one of our lawyers as a GAL in your case, you can discuss this with your attorney. Your attorney can contact us about rates and how quickly we can do an investigation. They can then ask the court to appoint us.
As with all other information contained on this website, you should not consider this legal advice and you should seek advice from a lawyer. Appointments may be arranged to discuss the matter with our lawyers but no advice will be given by email.