Posts Tagged ‘Guardian ad litem’

Little reason to attack the guardian at trial

Working on materials for an upcoming lecture on attorney/guardian interactions, I realized that it had been years since I last felt compelled to “attack” the guardian ad litem at trial. However I am often asked by colleagues on effective techniques to undermine the guardian. There are times when the only effective strategy for minimizing a […]

What the guardian should expect from the attorneys/What attorneys should expect from the guardian

The following are materials for an upcoming Charleston County guardian ad litem luncheon.  I am posting them as a blog so that folks can comment.  These materials can also be downloaded as a Microsoft Word file. I often “recycle” lectures, so comments may be used to update the materials. A lot of the bickering between attorneys and guardians […]

Should guardians give opinions?

A former mentee of mine, who is developing a thriving practice as a guardian ad litem in private custody cases, recently asked for my opinion on whether guardians should give opinions. S.C. Code § 63-3-830(A)(6) prohibits guardians from making recommendations on custody in their final written report and places limits on making custody recommendations at […]

Court of Appeals affirms custody determination despite claim of improper guardian investigation

The April 2, 2014 Court of Appeals opinion in Simcox-Adams v. Adams, 408 S.C. 252, 758 S.E.2d 206, (Ct. App. 2014), affirmed the family court’s award of custody to Husband despite Wife’s challenge to the guardian ad litem’s investigation and report.  It also affirmed the family court’s finding that Wife’s inheritance was transmuted into marital property. Wife […]

Who does the guardian ad litem work for?

Frequently guardians ad litem take direction regarding their investigation from the parents or attorneys for the parents without exercising their own independent judgment.  Sometimes litigants or attorneys will inform the guardian the case is [some variation of] “close to settled” and ask the guardian to forgo their investigation to hold down fees.  Other times these […]

News and events

My newest mentee, Audrey R. Brown, has her website up here. Audrey is a graduate of George Mason University School of Law and an avid roller derby enthusiast–and a member of the Lowcountry Highrollers (she’s currently in the recreational league as she concentrates on developing her law practice).  Her practice focuses on family law and […]

When a child’s mental health professional makes a guardian ad litem unnecessary

South Carolina Code §63-3-810(A)(1) allows the family court to appoint a guardian ad litem in a private custody case when “without a guardian ad litem, the court will likely not be fully informed about the facts of the case and there is a substantial dispute which necessitates a guardian ad litem.”  Thus attorneys routinely consent […]

Impeaching a guardian ad litem who’s gone (too) rogue

Twenty years experience shows that there’s some validity to Robert Rosen’s jaundiced view of guardians ad litem in private custody cases, best expressed by the title of one of his articles for South Carolina Lawyer: “Getting Rid of the GAL: How to Save Your Client from Those Expensive, Unnecessary Officious Intermeddlers.”  As Rosen’s article notes: […]

 

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