Posts Tagged ‘Guardian ad litem’

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 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 raised a number of issues regarding the […]

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: […]

Caught in a circular firing squad

I have increasingly come to the conclusion that being a guardian ad litem in South Carolina for private custody cases is an impossible task if one is going to do it well.  The system, as currently constituted, weeds out good guardians while leaving the ineffectual and milquetoast in place.  The work has become so distasteful […]

Shameless self-promotion

I will be speaking at two upcoming Continuing Legal Education programs. On January 27, 2012 I will be moderating and speaking at the South Carolina Bar’s annual guardian ad litem training in Columbia (and via satellite at various locations throughout the state).  My topic will be “Religion as a Child Custody Issue.”  The other topics […]

Playing the jerk to encourage dispute resolution

Sometimes a guardian ad litem can assist resolution of a custody dispute by doing things that initially make the parents unhappy.  This won’t render the guardian popular but it will render the guardian effective. This approach helped me resolve a 2 ½ year custody dispute earlier this week.  Immediately upon my appointment I did a […]