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Guardian ad litem

A Guardian ad litem is usually appointed by the court in a dissolution of marriage action. Florida statute 61.401 provides that in an action for dissolution of marriage or the creation, approval, or modification of the parenting plan, if the court finds it is in the best interests of the child the court may appoint a Guardian ad litem to act as next friend of the child, investigator or evaluator, not as attorney or advocate.

A Guardian ad litem is generally an attorney who is a member of the Florida Bar. A Guardian ad litem may also be an individual certified by the Guardian ad litem program.

A Guardian, when appointed by the court shall act as next friend of the child, investigator or evaluator, not as attorney or advocate but shall act in the child’s best interest.

The Guardian once appointed is giving certain powers, privileges, and responsibilities, as follows:

The Guardian ad litem may investigate the allegations of the pleadings affecting the child
The Guardian ad litem, through his attorney, may petition the court for orders to obtain various records concerning the child or either of the parents
The Guardian ad litem may request expert examinations of the child or the child’s parents
The Guardian may help the court in obtaining impartial expert examinations
The Guardian ad litem can address the court and he or she can make a written report to the court. A written report has to be provided to everybody 20 days before any scheduled hearing
A Guardian ad litem is presumed to be acting in good faith and therefore a Guardian who was participating in a court proceeding is immune from any kind of liability, civil or criminal.