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

Posted Saturday, October 6th, 2012 by Gregory Forman
Filed under Child Custody, Guardians Ad Litem, Litigation Strategy, Not South Carolina Specific, Of Interest to Family Court Litigants, Of Interest to Family Law Attorneys

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:

I have rarely been involved in a custody case in which the GAL contributed anything except to the cost. That contribution is usually significant. This is not to say that guardians cannot be useful. Of course, they can be, and there are undoubtedly some cases which guardians have helped settle or have given useful advice. But, the same would be true in a wreck case or a medical malpractice case. If there were a guardian involved, he or she could also give some useful advice to both the plaintiff and the defendant. In general, GALs merely add another lawyer with another hourly rate to talk to the same witnesses, sit at the same depositions and present an opinion which is usually as valuable (as lacking in value) as the opinion of the lawyer for the wife or the lawyer for the High School. Many times their opinions are worthless. GALs add nothing to the litigation except another batch of subjective opinions based on their own childhood experiences, their own marriage(s) and children and their own view of the world. Family court lawyers admit all this privately to each other, while they pander to and praise GALs who are on their side….

It is, therefore, my unshakeable belief that avoiding a guardian ad litem is an important service to your client because: (1) it saves money; (2) does away with another wild card in the case; (3) is one less person to have to listen to, accommodate, humor and deal with; and (4) and most importantly, the GAL can always recommend against your client, which is usually fatal, as judges generally place entirely too much value on their “impartial” recommendations

While I agree with many of Rosen’s criticisms of guardians, I believe there are some tasks a guardian is uniquely qualified and useful to perform in child custody cases.  Unlike the parents’ attorneys or the family court judge, a guardian can go into both parents’ homes multiple times to observe the living situation and to observe parent-child interaction.  A guardian can ask the parents to answer questions about the incidents and disputes that come up in most custody cases and expect honest answers (and note a party’s failure or refusal to answer).  A guardian can meet with the children multiple times and develop an understanding of their concerns and wishes.  A guardian can observe the child with third-party care givers and provide (assumably unbiased) observations on the child’s level of comfort with such care givers.

Some guardians do excellent work investigating and reporting on important custody issues that the court would otherwise have imprecise or inaccurate knowledge.  However some guardians do slipshod work: developing a clear dislike of one party that colors every aspect of their investigation and report or failing to investigate important issues that they are in the best position to analyze

We can think of such guardians as going rogue.  Their reports will be neither impartial nor balanced but the court rarely has a good basis to discount or ignore them.  Further, especially when working with a guardian for the first time or with an inexperienced guardian, it is impossible to predict when a guardian will do a thorough, impartial job and when a guardian will “go rogue.”  Complaining about a guardian’s unfavorable testimony or report at the time of trial is often treated by the court as a symptom of the party’s unhappiness with the guardian rather than as the guardian’s failure to be thorough and impartial.  Thus one needs to employ strategies that demonstrate a guardian’s (potential) inadequacies at the beginning of the case rather than waiting until the end of the case to develop the attack.

Sometimes when I am the guardian the only communication I initially receive from a parent’s attorney is the client’s contact information and the paperwork that client has filed with the court.  More typically I will get a list of witnesses the attorney wants me to talk to.  Rarely will I get a listing of the actual investigation the attorney and parent would like me to undertake.  The witness list will sometimes include folks like teachers, coaches, counselors and care providers but often it’s a list of friends and family.  Everyone–the judges, the attorneys, the guardian–assumes such friends and family will say favorable things about the parent and if one wants the judge to know that these friends and family like the client the way to do that is to call them as witnesses at trial.  Most guardians neither want or need an investigation to determine that a parent’s friends and family think well of him or her.

A witness-based investigation request isn’t completely worthless but it’s not very useful and cannot be used to subject a guardian to later claims of incompetence, incompleteness or bias.  If I am asked why I didn’t talk to a number of a party’s friends or family members, I can easily defend the attack by answering:

I wanted to be careful with the parties’ resources by not spending time investigating undisputed issues.  I read their affidavits.  I saw they liked their friend/family member.  From their affidavits, they did not appear to have spent a significant amount of time with the child(ren) [I often interview friends and family members on request if their affidavit shows they spent substantial time with the child(ren)] and I didn’t see that they had much else to add.

The key to being able to show a guardian’s investigation is incomplete or biased is to provide the guardian clear written guidelines at the beginning of the case of what issues one’s client would like the guardian to investigate.  I call this an “issue based,” as opposed to “witness based,” investigation.  Obviously the issues one will ask the guardian to investigate are those that one expects the investigation will uncover information favorable to the client and unfavorable to the opposing party.  In asking a guardian to investigate a particular issue I might ask the guardian to do certain tasks or talk to certain witnesses.

For example, in a case in which the opposing party claims that my client interferes in his relationship with their child because she simply doesn’t respect the role of fathers, I might ask the guardian to talk to the father of one of her other children.  The portion of my issue-based investigation request might read as follows:

One of the issues in this case is whether my client is unduly resistant to the other parent’s relationship with the child.  My client has another child with another father and she and that father get along well.   I would ask you to meet with and speak to this father, and, if possible, speak to her other child at that father’s house.  We would ask your report to include an analysis of her co-parenting with this other father.

Another example is a custody case in which my client is seeking joint or sole custody in part based on a claim that he has successfully co-parented an older child with a different parent.  My request to the guardian might read as follows:

One of the reasons my client believes he should get joint or primary physical custody is his excellent track record of parenting another, older child.  We would ask you to meet with and speak to the mother of this child and to their child.  We would ask your report to include an analysis of his track record as a co-parent.

It is important to conclude the written communication to the guardian with the following language:

I am assuming that you agree the investigation I am asking you to undertake is relevant to understanding and advocating the child(ren)’s best interests and I therefore will expect you to undertake the investigation I propose.  If there is any part of this requested investigation that you are uncomfortable undertaking or believe is not useful to understanding the child(ren)’s best interests, please indicate in writing which portions of this investigation you are unwilling to undertake so that my client and I can determine whether further action is necessary.  If I do not hear back from you I will assume that you have no issue undertaking the investigation I propose and will do so.

The reason for concluding with such language is that it pushes the guardian towards either undertaking the investigation you propose or subjecting the guardian to a cross examination that will undermine the guardian’s report and testimony.  If the guardian indicates he or she is unwilling to undertake a portion of the investigation one proposes, one can then move to remove the guardian due to his or her unwillingness to undertake a thorough investigation (this assumes that the investigation the guardian is unwilling to undertake is not excessive and is material to understanding the child(ren)’s best interests).  If the guardian simply fails to investigate one of the important enumerated issues, one can use this written communication to the guardian to develop an effective cross examination:

Q. You received this communication from me early in the case asking you to investigation the following issues:

Q. That communication asked you to inform me in writing if you were unwilling to do this

Q. You never informed me in writing that you were unwilling to do this

Q. You would agree that this issue is important to understanding the best interests of the children [assuming this is the case, you really don’t care how the guardian answers this: if the guardian admits it, it strengthens your position; if the guardian denies it, the guardian appears inept]

Q. You have failed to investigate this issue

Q. Your report fails to address this issue

Q. My request further indicates the steps I suggested you undertake to investigate this issue

Q. You didn’t undertake any of these steps

Q. Your investigation is incomplete [again, you don’t really care how the guardian answers this: an admission strengthens your position; a denial makes the guardian appear inept]

Q. In failing to investigate an issue important to my client, your investigation is biased against my client

Q. In failing to inform me in writing that you were not going to undertake this investigation, you prevented me from taking action to remedy this problem while the case was ongoing

Q. This failure again prejudiced my client

There are some cases in which a guardian may investigate an issue but do a very haphazard or one-sided job of investigating or reporting.  Assuming that there is minimal evidence supporting the guardian’s conclusion and substantial evidence undermining it, an effective cross examination script might be as follows:

Q. I asked you to investigate the following issue:

Q. You investigated that issue and found as follows:

Q. You’ve heard the testimony and seen the evidence elicited so far at trial.

Q. You would acknowledge that the only testimony and evidence supporting your position is as follows:

Q. You would acknowledge the following testimony and evidence contradicts your position:

Q. Wouldn’t you agree that the greater weight of the evidence is contrary to your report [an admission is unlikely but extremely helpful; a denial subjects the guardian to inferences of incompetence or bias]

At the time of a contested trial, one party is routinely unhappy with the guardian’s report and testimony, and the court expects that party to attack the guardian.  This cross examination script enables an attorney to demonstrate that the client’s request to discount the guardian’s recommendations is not based on an unfavorable report but based on an incomplete, incompetent or biased investigation.  A judge is much more likely to discount the guardian’s testimony and report if one can demonstrate incompetence, incompleteness or bias.

The best way to undermine a guardian who’s “gone rogue” is start with an understanding of what you believe the guardian needs to investigate that would support your client’s position.  This involves both highlighting the client’s strengths (and the opposing party’s weaknesses) and undermining the client’s weaknesses (and the opposing party’s strengths).  Then develop a record that will lead to a conclusion of guardian bias or incompetence if the guardian either fails to undertake this investigation or does so inadequately.  Doing so enables one to effectively attack the guardian without it being perceived of as yet another attorney who is merely unhappy with the guardian because the guardian is not supporting the client’s position.

This strategy cannot undermine every unfavorable guardian: there’s many cases in which the guardian’s investigation accurately uncovers a number of problems with one’s own client or simply determines the other parent has more strengths.  Other cases might involve an honest difference of opinion as to what the actual facts show.  However, for a guardian who simply is one sided and refuses to investigate or acknowledge one’s client’s good points, or the opposing party’s bad points, this strategy is the most effective one I’ve seen.

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

  1. MJ Goodwin says:

    You should teach this at the January CLE. It is a good topic. It is very difficult to impeach a GAL, even if you have specified the investigation you want. I find this to be even more true in abuse and neglect cases. The lay Guardians are sometimes (perhaps unconsiously) given a sort of “demi-god” status by the Court. I have had numerous situations where the GAL was the only party not in agreement on a DSS case. In one very egregious case, the GAL could not support her position and had not done even a merely sufficient investigation. She simply ran out to the house the day before Court. She just “felt” certain things. And the Court did not approve the agreement. Nightmare stuff.

    1. Rebecca R. says:

      GALs usually make their job way too hard, partly
      because many of them were not properly trained or
      instructed (nor are family court judges, anywhere in
      the US, formally trained/instructed on parenting). The
      most conscientiously selected and best trained
      GALs will virtually never take sides between parents
      of minor children, and will spend their time in each of
      those cases ensuring there is optimal, adequate inter-parent
      communication, mediation of all issues affecting
      the child or children, joint parent-school engagement
      to ensure the school is fully engaged in helping parents to
      avoid any and all inter-parent litigation (and that no school
      personnel are taking sides between the parents),
      facilitating inter-parent cooperation and agreement,
      and reporting any family lawyers or family court
      judges who are escalating conflict, seeking to sever
      inter-parent communication, obstructing mediation,
      filing/entering tactical protection orders, or taking
      any other cruel or violent action(s) against the family.

      1. cassie says:

        Your comments are appreciated. However, I fear that is the ideal world that you are discussing rather the realities most of the complaints address. As long as human beings are involved, there are the elements of bias and unfairness as part of the equation. Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) said, “Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made.”

        1. Rebecca R. says:

          I stand corrected. Thank you Cassie

        2. knoxville says:

          if only you knew, im the client in a case, a male, and have only had accusations brought against me, the GAL has complained about being paid with motions to the court…which were denied…however, she punishes me or whomever when people dont mediate (this case is non-mediating since im definitly not surrendering my superior rights…)….a nightmare

    2. Jen says:

      The job of every GAL, were they trained, would be to
      1. remain neutral between the parents (generally best for
      children); 2. encourage and advocate for inter-parent
      communication, mediation, cooperation and agreement;
      3. zealously advocate for joint custody and equal treatment
      of the parents; and 4. go after any family lawyers, custody
      evaluators, family court judges or others who are taking
      sides between the parents, discouraging or obstructing
      mediation, or filing, orchestrating or entering tactical,
      ex parte protection orders.

  2. MJ Goodwin says:

    In discussing this with some colleagues today, it occurred to me that the GAL could also use a letter like this to outline what issues the parties would like investigated. While I would not focus on those identified issues only, I do think that it would be helpful and might help prevent those situations in which you get to trial and one or both sides asserts that the GAL “did not do anything.”

  3. Ted says:

    I am having difficulties with my GAL. I do believe and can prove I think she is biased in my case. She is not fully investigating things in my case and it really hurts.

    Our judge said in court that if we were to take it to trial being unhappy with the GAL’s recommendation/decision, he would 9/10 times go with what the GAL suggested. Pretty much saying it is useless to take it to trial. Just to live with her decision. This is just WRONG.

    I sure hope somebody can read this and give me some advice. I don’t think my attorney is representing me correctly and sufficiently. I have paid him nearly all of my savings and she is the one that declined mediation and started this thing. She makes 40g a year and I am on disability.

    I feel like I should be able to take her to court and sue her for attorney fees and damages mentally. They convinced the judge that I needed supervised visitation during the investigation. I get 4 hours a week supervised bye my mother. I am 36 years old. I take pain meds for injuries. Not abused but it is easy for her to say that I do. My own doctor says I don’t abuse them. She is finishing up her report in a week or so. It has taken her 6 months and she was to have it done by the end of the year. It is now March 12.

    If anyone can give me some advice as to what to do in the matter it would be great. i am going to go to the law library tomorrow to see if there is any cases that depict a similar situation. I want to know my rights. This is my child we are talking about! I raised her by myself for the first year of her life. No daycare, just me. Alone! I got up in the middle of the nights, not her mother. I was home all day with her, not her mother. This is just not right.

    She got a high powered attorney with my childs SS money. I can’t prove this but it is the case. I don’t have a very experienced attorney. I feel so screwed. Help me please!

    1. Allen says:

      Ted,

      First off, I am not a lawyer. But, I have severely suffered from a biased GAL and recently by Fiance was completely screwed over by a corrupt GAL and a Judge that willingly colluded with the GAL.

      I have read and studied a hell of a lot on many of the issues involved in mine and my fiance’s cases. Based on all that we have gone through and what we have learned… I would enjoy speaking with you… in the role of “this is what we did and what happend”… “this is what we are thinking of doing”… “have you tried this?”… as well as to provide you a place to vent and strategize. Please contact me with talon926 at hotmail period com.

      I look forward to speaking with you and I’m curious where your case is being heard.

      -Allen (Columbus Ohio)

      1. Mike Morgan says:

        My girlfriend is going through a similar situation, she is involved in an adoption case, because of serve neglect and abuse the children were removed and from their mothers home and placed in the custody of the grandmother. The guardian ad litem has gone rouge and we feel that the judge in this case has also went rouge or corrupt.

        The guardian ad litem has clearly failed to do his responsibilities and duties recommended by the OSBA. We are dealing with the court system in Ohio, Muskingum County. Any information anyone has that could help us in this case would be very helpful and appreciated, Feel free to contact me

    2. Shannon Hammond says:

      i too am going through the same place with a GAL. I am wondering what state are you in? County? I am interesting in learning about your case and maybe if we all ban together we can make a difference for the children.

    3. Deana Brandon says:

      Patel v Patel, 347 S.C. 281, 555 S. E.2d 386 (2001)
      Look up the Bar Standards of Professionalism
      Statement of Principles
      Look up False Evidence in Civil Proceedings

    4. Rebecca R. says:

      Ted, If the GAL were trained and knew what she was doing,
      you and your wife would be strictly following the program for
      cooperation and agreement in parenting, and not using litigation or any other adversarial, child-harming method of dispute resolution.
      According to best practices nation-wide, the GAL should be fighting
      tooth and nail to secure orders for inter-parent communication and mediation, and to prevent any/all litigation, and would be fighting
      tooth and nail for the child, putting everything on the line to ensure
      inter-parent communication, mediation, cooperation and agreement.
      If she is not following these best practices, you must report her to the bar of each state in which she is licensed. You owe this not just to your child, but to every child this person is harming and torturing.

  4. George Branstiter says:

    I agree that there are bad GAL’s, most local attorneys know them and avoid them. Hopefully, they will then die on the vine from inactivity. However, I think the most important point is the need to work WITH the GAL. They shouldn’t have to work in a vacuum. Many attorneys don’t communicate with the GAL at all, then complain because they didn’t talk to a specific person or look into some area. Then they try to attack the GAL in court for not doing their job. Excellent article on need to communicate with the GAL which is the attorney’s job. After that, if the GAL didn’t do what was requested, then they are fair game and you should go after them as unreliable tools of the court.

  5. Benjamin says:

    Thank you so much for this information! It is very difficult to find any quality information about GAL’s and how to prevent them from abusing their power or negligently handling your case. I have bookmarked this page and subscribed to your blog. Hopefully, you can write some further information on Family Law related matters.

  6. Rollin Hetwall says:

    My Guardian, Kaufnmann and Associates of Mount Pleasant South Carolina left me incarcerated.

    1. Blair says:

      What? What happened?

  7. CJ says:

    What can you advise in the case of a parent who has a court appointed attorney in a child protection case and what their role in dealing with a GAL is? There is a complete lack of trust or respect between this GAL and myself for various reasons and I have let my attorney know of my reasons in order to request or motion to have a new GAL put on the case but the attorney is not willing to do this. I am only doing this because I love my daughter and I see things the GAL Is doing that I know are not reflective of any interest in her well-being or in the preservation of our relationship.

    1. You do not work for your attorney; your attorney works for you. If your attorney won’t file a motion to relieve the guardian, you can discharge that attorney and hire one who will.

      However, there might be good reasons not to file such a motion. Be cautious in rejecting a good attorney’s advice.

  8. sue says:

    Wonderful article!

    I am in case with my 14 year old daughter who will be 15 in 1 month. Her father was in and out of her life for 12 years. He had also never supported her the whole time. He recently took me to court for visitation and I didn’t hire an attorney because I had no objections. If she wanted to see him my door was always opened and I would support her on that. The problem is that she doesn’t want to go there at all. She hasn’t seen him in 3 years and then he does this. He paid for a gal for her and the gal does not like me for done reason. The gal said in court that she had called and left me several messages so that we could have an interview. I asked her what number because I have no missed calls or messages from her, she pulled her folder out and acted like she was going to show me and slammed it shut and down and tried to distract from that so I asked again what number she called and she would never tell me and then my daughter told her that she gave her my number and it was right and the gal called her a liar. I have called and tried to sit an appointment up with her since and have left messages on both her phones and I have still not heard from her. She issued that my daughter go see her father the first weekend of every month at his moms. She had went for 3 visits so far. The first visit there was cops involved. I want to let everyone know my daughter is an honor student and dreaming of Yale, she is smart and such a great kid and anyone and every teacher from k through 9th can vouch that she is a teachers pet and nothing but a joy. The second visit he twisted her wrist and took her cell phone away and she had no way to text me. She called me from their home phone and he stood over her the whole time. The third visit he twisted her wrist and shoved her into the dresser to take her phone again and she locked herself on the bathroom scared and called the police. The police told her that he has the right to hit her and one of the officers told her a story about how he yanked his kid by the back of the hair to get the d.s from him and then made her go back in his house scared. Her wrist was still hurting her when I picked her up so I took her to the doctor and the diagnosed her with tendinitis from the way he twisted and shoved it back, the wrapped it and prescribed medication for inflammation. I was told that I need to get a protective order on him so I did that yesterday. I have left messages for the gal to call me but she still hasn’t so she has no idea. My daughter told her last time that he twisted her wrist and took her phone and the gal said he shouldn’t take her phone. Her father told me that I need to talk to the gal because she told him he can. Him and the gal are on texting bases and they stay in contact and he told our daughter that he is going to talk to the gal about staying the night on her next visit. The gal also represented his sisters soon so I suppose they know eachother. I am worried because the gal doesn’t like me at all and she is who the judge is going to listen to. I am also worried that my daughter has only been there 3 times and hurt 2 of those times and the police 2 of those times. He has everyone against her telling them that she is a brat and a liar. Last time she was there he told her she wasn’t special and he put his face 5 inches from hers and stared at her and told her that he can do this all day and she can’t do anything about it because he owns the house. I feel so bad for her she is being mentally and physically abused ams I know it isn’t severe but it is more than she had ever witnessed and she dreads going and hates it there. I am afraid it is going to make her turn bad and start rebelling. Any advice would be so greatly appreciated. Thank you

    1. Era says:

      Sue,
      Your daughter’s father sounds like a monster who wasn’t raised right himself. This is scary stuff, especially with a loco GAL in the picture. They seem to cause more harm than good. I’ll be praying for your situation. Please post an update.
      God bless you both.

    2. Aimee says:

      Sue,
      Your case sounds almost identical to mine (it’s going on as we speak). I would be interested to email with you about this. Perhaps we may have helpful information for each other. My email is 1970beloved@gmail.com.

  9. Mandy says:

    Sue, I read your article and others on completely bias and crooked GALs and feel just awful for you and your daughter. Unfortunately, I am seeing more and more horror stories and feel that there should be some kind of national committee or support group that should be set up to help people who are faced with the same or similar issues involving “demi-god” like GALs. Sadly, I have been fighting a malicious court battle with my sister this past year with a horrible, malicious, bias and totally disgusting GAL that has misrepresented my mother in every possible way since the very beginning of the conservatorship case. She has completely lied in court about my mom’s wishes, gone against my mom’s own opposition to go live with my sister, gone against the advise of her doctor’s, social workers, lawyers and caregiver. In support of my sister, she fought so diligently in court to have my mom removed from my home and care even when it was completely against my mom’s own wishes and my mom told everyone in court that she was afraid of my sister, hated her and did not want to go live with her due to past abuse. My sister appointed this GAL who is so unbelievably crooked and bias and has gotten away with murder. My 82 year old mom was uprooted from a very safe and healthy environment while residing with me for almost 1 year and is now placed in an environment where is she being physically, mentally and financially abused by my sister and other abusive siblings of whom my mom filed an elder abuse lawsuit against. The GAL has managed to file a temporary restraining order against me preventing me from seeing or contacting my mother based on false accusations and lies made by my sister. My lawyer spent a significant amount of time on discovery work and we were planning to go to trial to reveal all of our evidence but they asked to work out a stipulation where I get monitored visits with my mom so the case went off calendar. We only went that route because it was the same judge who listened to the GAL in the first place and we decided the risk of her listening to her again and ignoring our evidence was high. We had 15 witnesses lined up to testify against my sister including health care professionals, social workers and police officers. I am my mother’s appointed power of attorney, durable power of attorney and health care directive and the GAL told the judge that my mother did not know what she was doing at the time she appointed me in Jan 2014 and tried to petition to have all of my powers removed. This horrible bias GAL has cost me thousands of dollars in attorney fees and court battles due to her bias and hatred towards me. She had my mom uprooted without conducting any investigation or speaking to me or any of my mom’s healthcare professionals, former caregiver or attorney who drew up my mom’s power of attorney documents. Due to more lies and false allegations, she was successful in suspending my advance health care directive only weeks after my mother was forced to go live with my sister so I wasn’t able to oversee her medical concerns any longer. Now my mother is suffering from serious depression, pain and high blood pressure. Because I was still in my mom’s healthcare system, I was getting alert notices and overdue notices for unfilled prescription medications and bloodwork showing my sister had been medically neglecting my mom’s care. My attorney filed a TCON attaching all of the supporting evidence to show my sister was medically abusing my mom while under her care but the judge denied the petition saying the information was inadmissable in court since my healthcare directive had been suspended. OMG, the court system doesn’t even care if an 82 year old woman is currently being abused mentally, physically and financially even when hard evidence is presented to them. The GAL lied again in court saying my mom was opposed to the TCON to appoint a private conservator of whom I petitioned for to look after my mom’s well being. They intentionally left my mom home and did not let her attend the hearing fearing that she will reveal the truth about my sister abusing her. The GAL also had my mom’s former attorneys removed accusing me that I had hired them. This of course is completely false as my mom willingly hired them before the case in opposition to my sister’s petition for conservator. I’ve been receiving so many distress calls from my mother for many months now and I don’t know what else I can do to help her out of her abusive situation. The GAL has gone rogue and has misrepresented my mother in every possible way to support my sister and the court is listening to her based solely on her opinions (with no supporting evidence). My brother is also very sad to see our mother suffering like this and has filed a petition to have the GAL removed. This case has been nothing but an uphill battle for us but we don’t want to give up on our mother as we love her and can’t bear to see her suffering like this. She doesn’t want to be held there against her will and is pleading for help. The GAL has done everything in her power to go against her wishes and has opposed all of my petitions and is trying to permanently keep her in an abusive and unhealthy environment. Any thoughts or advise on what else we could do would be most helpful. Thank you.

  10. jean says:

    Very experienced GAL is working my case, but represented my first ex husband against me aprox. 10 years ago….I don’t believe she should be able to work this case, I would like to have her removed, since she made crazy and outrageous statements at the hearing, I am representing myself, and am trying to do this to make sure there will be not be a way for her to stay…

  11. Rita Carr says:

    I feel every effort should be made, on the part of parents and their attorney’s, to ensure parents/clients take the initiative to voluntarily participate in co-parenting programs and seek out low-cost parental support programs/resources provided/recommended by Family Court Services, state run social services (CPS) public schools, faith based organizations, etc. and voluntarily participate family & personal counseling. All are available at no or low-cost.

    It gives more bite to your case/strategy by demonstrating a willingness to continually improve and strengthen “co-parenting” skills and personal/familial “well-being”. Also, why would a judge or GAL discount participation in programs recommended by the courts and/or funded by the state and/or federal government.

    I believe requesting a GAL investigate/recommend, detailed in the manner recommended in blog, via Motion as well as formal letter request, provides an opportunity to get concerns “on the record” and supports future requests for court appointed child advocates (CASA), court experts and future impeachment of GAL.

    The GAL for our children (post divorce-custody) informed me, via email, I could not communicate with any third party, only GAL. GAL was aware I intended on filing a restraining order against my former spouse for non-stop harassing emails, contacting CSED for $10,000 in delinquent child support, file an OSC for custodial interference, and Motion to Enforce re: MSA for failure to pay debt or provide 1/2 assets. “Acting beyond the scope of appointment” is how I intend to address GAL actions.

    While researching caselaw, I was surprised how often attorneys/pro se choose to attack the decisions/in-decisions of the GAL and receive the “acting WITHIN the scope of their appointment” or “Quasi-judicial immunity” decision. Possibly something to keep in mind: focus on documenting YOUR actions/attempts to bring forth resolution to issues impacting children, YOUR communications informing the GAL of concerns and requesting their involvement, the decision/in-decisions of GAL, and the impact/result of the GAL decision on YOUR children/family. Forget how the GAL has impacted your role as a parent or parental rights! You give up your role and rights when a GAL is involved in any capacity. In the courts eyes, you have flat out agreed you and/or your former spouse are incapable of making decisions together for the best interests of your children, so, someone needs to make them for you. Regardless of your original intention to obtain a GAL for your children.

    Question: If GAL’s ultimately have the final say on all decisions impacting our children, removing our rights as parents, how do we demonstrate a GAL is qualified to make those decisions? Simply being an attorney does not demonstrate your ability to parent or co-parent.

    I intend on requesting, via Motion, for the appointment of a CASA advocate, Court Appointed Expert (custody re-eval) and Parenting Coordinator in the hope outside input will curtail and acknowledge the GAL’s actions. This also will provide an opportunity to “get on record” concerns/issues and demonstrate/imply bias and actions/in-actions of GAL.

    1. Kim says:

      Hi,

      I saw your post and am in the same position w/ the private GAL in my custody case – for numerous reasons (including financial) I need to get her out of the case. I’d like to get a CASA guardian appointed so the case can be assessed by an independent evaluator. I was wondering if you ended up filing your motion to remove the GAL/replace with a CASA guardian and how it turned out.

  12. Carmen says:

    I live in Augusta and my community is plagued with misconduct. Our GAL’s are not Attorney’s, and they are not required to have any specialized training to be a Gal. A high school diploma, 40 hours of field training and yearly continuing Ed class. There has been several reports and news articles published over the past year with Gal concerns: leaving a friend during a visit, having family/social visits during Supevised visits; improper billing, etc. I had a Gal once and she was nothing like what these articles state. She had a heart of gold & charged minimal $ for her time & work. She looked after my 3 kids like they were her own. My question is this, how can Gal’s have such power over the fate of children, and have little education and have family/social visits and be outted publicly, and still remain a Gal?

  13. Valerie H says:

    What about a GAL who gives the opposing parent in a custody dispute the number to a lawyer who is seeking pro bono clients? The father had a lawyer and the GAL called the mother & gave her the contact info stating, “I shouldn’t do this but….”

  14. Hester says:

    I had to set up a go fund me acct to put up a request for donations. The horrors of what the gal did are on there. A few days ago the ER determined my son needed behavioral therapy but the gal had cut it off in October. I am going to make a police report about her medical neglect and abuse. http://Www.gofundme.com/jlsof8 please go and read thank you. Also, my email is on there

  15. Valerie H says:

    The courts really need to hold GALs legally accountable for their unprofessional, unethical and abusive actions. Absolute immunity should be recalled/repealed, whatever legalese is used to get rid of this all encompassing permit that allows GALs to act anyway they want w/o fear of legal ramifications/accountability by a wronged person. So who will start the ball rolling in Ohio to make GALs legally accountable for their abusive and costly actions?

  16. Joe S. says:

    The GAL that was assigned to my wife’s case has a criminal history. The GAL qualifications states:

    1. A guardian ad litem must be an adult who should:
    a) be able to make independent, mature and informed
    decisions on issues involved in the case;
    b) employ impartiality, open-mindedness and fairness
    in determining what is in the best interest of the child;
    c) have not represented a person or party in pending
    or past litigation involving the child;
    d) have not been convicted of any crime listed in Chapter 3
    of Title 16, Offenses Against the Person; Chapter 15
    of Title 16, Offenses Against Morality and Decency;
    Article 3 of Chapter 53 of Title 44, Narcotics and Controlled
    Substances; or for the crime of contributing to the
    delinquency of a minor, provided for in § 16-17-490; and
    e) have received appropriate training or experience.

    Criminal history includes one or more of the following:

    FILING FALSE POLICE REPORT MISDEMEANOR CLASS U
    SHOPLIFTING, $1000 /LESS MISDEMEANOR CLASS U
    FRAUDULENT CHECK-LESS THAN 50 0 MISDEMEANOR CLASS U

    I am not an attorney but it appears to me the first charge violates the GAL requirements?

    1. Kim Harrell says:

      Dear Joe S.,
      Where did you find the list of “The GAL qualifications?” I am in Texas and cannot find any clearly defined responsibilities of, certifications or continuing education requirements, etc., in the Texas Family Law Code.
      I will appreciate any information regarding GALs and Texas.
      Thank you,
      Kim

      1. Ronda says:

        Kim,

        I was able to locate the requirements for a GAL in Texas. Here is the link – it is a pdf file.
        http://www.county.org/member-services/education-and-training/presentations/Documents/2015%20Fall%20Judicial/1.%20Guardianship%20-%20the%20Role%20of%20Guardian%20Ad%20Litem%20-%20Johnson.pdf

        Just copy and past into your browser and the document should come up.
        Good Luck with your case.

        1. Kim Harrell says:

          Ronda,
          I’m so sorry, but I didn’t notice your response until today. Thank you very much for taking the time to provide that information.
          Kim

  17. Valerie says:

    Joe, that’s horrible and very, very concerning given the decision the GAL has to make. You need to try and have this GAL removed & another assigned. Good luck sir.

    Val

  18. Marie says:

    We just got out of a hearing. We originally had a guardian ad litem that was in favor of my husbands children residing in our home. They’ve lived here for the past 2years. Their mother has continually made false CPS reports during that time and we have been cleared EVERY time. She recently petitioned the court for a change of custody and the court assigned a new GAL. This new one shows up , sits down on our couch and proceeds to talk to our other children ( not ones involved in the case) about books. She did not measure or check anything, mind you. She also made no attempt to speak with the children that are involved. She then asks for a continuance on Aug. 5,2015, on the grounds that she was unable to speak with the school staff. Then in her report today she states that she spoke with the school on July 15 . She also states that our house is too small . She did not speak with the childrens psychologist as we asked and even added in her report that they were seen privately , when we attend family therapy. Can you report someone like this to the Bar association?

  19. Brandy Morrison says:

    Hello,
    My question is this….
    A GAL is supposed to represent what is in the Child’s best interest correct?
    How can one then recommend that a parent who in his report states that he firmly believes that the same parent he recommend have custody had recently assaulted one of the children involved.
    How can one also recommend that a parent have custody when he firmly states that the children do not want that parent to have custody because they are closer and feel more comfortable with the other parent?
    How can one state on the record that even after hearing all the facts on one parents Domestic violence Convictions against the other parent along with continued violence against the children “It is not a concern at this time, because it is not ongoing and that the children are not frightened by their Father”?
    This has been a nightmare! It just goes to show if you have enough money you can do very well in todays court system.

  20. LaMesa Cole says:

    As a Mississippi resident, I discovered that MS is the ONLY state that does not offer legal representation for its indigent/poor residents. As a single black mother who is forced to be pro se for my 10 year old daughter, I have been assigned to a GAL by the chancery court judge and read some of the cases in which she has been appointed to and I will say that she has some sort of a vendetta against the mothers. She removed the children from the mothers and gave full custody to the fathers on several of the cases I read. Both parents were scored evenly on both accounts but the GAL did not do an unbiased or incomplete evaluation on them.

    My story is that the father has continuously canceled visitation more than had it and my child has been vomiting in his custody. His wife/stepmother is a bully like he is and creating an environment that is making her sick every time is over there. I do have a legitimate concern/fear of him getting full custody because he caused me to lose custody 10 years ago of my 17 year old son to his father who lived prior in Michigan and currently lives in Connecticut with my son. My daughter has had a genuine fear of her father and he has supervised visits at his parents house with her ;however, they are forcing her to talk and call him. She wants to do none of it and has hated him every since she’s had to visit him. Last summer (July 2014), he took her for a week and brought her back after ONE week to tell me and her that he doesn’t want her to come back to his house until the vomiting stopped and I stop badmouthing him and his family.

    Every July 1st, I dropoff my daughter at 5pm, he wasn’t there as court ordered. However, he demanded he pick her up 3 days after the 1st. I felt obliged but not required because of not wanting to be deemed uncooperative, but that mistake costed me because he would not prove why he brought her back when I asked, why did you bring her back?”. He made no contact after that until school started and demanded visitation the first weekend of school, then the next weekend he canceled visitation. After hearing about the situation from my daughter about that summer week with him and stepmother and the many reports of vomiting and psychological and emotional abuse, I feared returning her and didn’t for a year until he served me papers.

    The father is a Mississippi pastor but lives in Arlington, TN (45 min.drive). He complains that he has to drive an hour and a half to see his child. He for the past 10 years has to travel that time for church, so what is the problem? Nothing. I am concerned for the GAL on my case even though I didn’t want to allow his attorney to make decisions for me. I am letting God decide what to do about what needs to happen but after I read about GALs, now, I have to go with the court’s decision. As I am pro se, do I contact the GAL or should I wait for the GAL to contact me. I made initial contact (Nov. 13) and her assistant said she would contact me on Monday (Nov. 16) but not response. My daughter is scheduled to be visit father at grandparents house for thanksgiving but is fearful of going. I know i have to follow court orders, can a GAL enforce her to not return to my house, even though school is not over for the year?

  21. Mike says:

    Hi, recently divorced, custody battle. I won full custody from my ex-wife who the previous year had a drug overdose suicide attempt and multiple sexual deviancy episodes (let’s just say “more” than affairs.

    My Ex wanted a GAL…long story short–I had zero trust for my Ex and did everything I could to keep myself protected. In doing so, I recorded my conversations with the GAL….she lied, misquoted (multiple witnesses even wrote letters attesting as such), withheld evidence, etc. Not just once or twice, but literally dozens of times in her 14 page “report”. It was a complete, purposeful railroad job. Upon our trial, when she learned of my recorded conversations with her, she started retracting her statements, saying she was “only human and makes mistakes” and the like. Adding insult to injury, I had to pay half of her $8,000 bill.

    Granted, I “won” the custody, the house, etc.–but the fact remains this person is a Menace to Society who lies and terrorizes families.

    I have irrefutable evidence…but in Ohio, GAL’s have Judicial Immunity. I want to sue her for obvious reasons. I should be allowed to sue her based on her actions. I need help with this–families in our community will continue to go thru what I did–and I need to make an example of her.

    1. Jeannette says:

      We’ve had a very similar situation with a GAL, and her responses are “I’m only human” I find this interesting! My daughter also recorded conversations with this individual. She was asked to look into a court case, that involved DUI but didn’t! Asked the lawyer to schedule a drug test that took 3 weeks to be taken. At a drop off my daughter was concerned because he looked high, and called the police before he could leave. GAL was there! The GAL was quick to tell the police they had to have probable cause to search. What we are dealing with is a retired police on disability. Whose father is a police officer, and knows the state prosecutor. They paint a picture perfect family, but it’s all smoke and mirrors. This guy knows his way around the law, and uses it to his full advantage. Even though he was convicted in another state the GAL has his back. He just recently had yet another incident, and it was covered up. Most would be fined with child endangerment. Not him. He wants this same GAL on the case the new case!! We don’t want her. We have proof of her biase. A Binder full! Where at in Ohio did this happen? Maybe this is a reach, but it sounds like you had the same GAL

  22. Blair says:

    If I can ask, what evidence was withheld? My understanding is you are legally allowed to ask an receive a copy of the Guardian’s file, not his/her notes but the file itself. Mine refuses to provide a copy for me, however has provided a copy to the opposing counsel. The Guardian also re-released medical records of my minor children without consent, as we as sending the records via email that was not encrypted. I am floored by the lack of care and concern people have for the children in these cases. Whether its the parent, guardian, lawyers or the Judge, who continue the madness without safeguarding the children, I do believe will stand before God and give an account. It is so sad to read the stories that have been shared. I do believe I am going to look into what I can do to have the Statute amended in regard to holding a Guardian ad litem accountable.
    Thank you for reading this, I hope to hear from you if you have the time to respond. B

  23. Kim says:

    I have been wanting to know how to get rid of a GAL that has taken my ex’s side and does not have the best interest of my kids in mind. I divorced because my ex-husband had an affair with a friend of mine. She was also his employee at the time. I was very angry in the beginning and sent him a lot of emails where I called him lots of names. It is now two years later and he continues to fight with me about getting more time with the kids. I had to do several months of counseling and I feel so much better know. The GAL’s report rips me apart and repeatedly states that I have anger issues and am abusive to my ex. This is not the case at all. I have been trying to work with him and he refuses. She wants to put into place a new schedule that the kids and myself do not like or think will work. Their dad is not able to pick them up after school or take them to school so he wants his girlfriend to do it. Yet, the GAL wants the kids to go home with the girlfriend several days a week. I have sent her references for people I work with, go to church with, neighbors, daycare workers, teachers, etc. so she could check my references. She hasn’t called any of them. I then asked her if she checked with my counselor to see if I have made progress with my “anger”. She said no one asked her to. I find this very unfair to me. I have asked my lawyer about it and she does not want to help me in any way. Does anyone have any suggestions? I have spent way to much of my time and money on this stupid issue, but I also love my kids to the ends of the earth and want to continue to fight for them.

    1. concerned dad says:

      I have the same issues with Steve Ellis in Miami Co, Kansas. My Ex is spending the summer with her father who is a confessed pedophile. Steve Ellis DOESN’T have a problem with that at all and only contacted HER friend and no one else about the situation, but claims to act in the best interest of the kids. Good luck and have patience that Karma will catch up with all of them.

      1. I would like to speak to you if possible. I may have to deal with him for a pending case in Miami Co.

  24. Blair says:

    I have a question. Hypothetically: If the opposing attorney is “deposing you” and the GAL is in attendance. During a break, the only 2 individuals in the conference room is the opposing attorney and the GAL. Can the GAL whisper to the opposing attorney certain questions to ask the individual being deposed?
    Lets take it a step further, The subpoena states who is being deposed and who is deposing. The GAL is not listed, can the Deposing attorney decide to “take a break” and turn the deposition to the GAL though the individual being deposed was not made aware that the GAL would be asking questions? What if then the individual being deposed made a comment that he/she was not made aware of the GAL participating in the Deposition and did not feel that he/she had ample time to prepare-to be interrupted abruptly and told, “if you do not answer the GAL questions we will both file a motion to hold you in contempt and will both file for attorney fees.” My thought process is if she is asking her own questions why guide the opposing attorney on what questions he should ask in his deposition, especially since the GAL is supposed to be unbiased. Can you please shed some light on this for me?
    Thank you for your time and for your Blog, it has been blessing to me.

  25. Ken says:

    I have just read the Guardian Ad litems report and it is full of provable inaccuracies. More importantly I have an email that says the following, which to me is proof that my ex’s lawyer lied to the GAL. Just a quick note to let you know that (My ex’s lawyer, name removed) has acknowledged that the “out of the picture” characterization was incorrect and not what should have communicated to me( The GAL). ( name removed, my ex) didn’t communicate those words to him so … just wanted to pass that along…… I think that is enough to show cause that my ex’s lawyer lied with the mis characterization. This was only caught because it was in a series of emails and I dont think it was suppose to be included. What do you think in Princeton, NJ

    1. concerned dad says:

      You should use the “lawyers” name, call them out and let the world know their wrong doing!

  26. Kim Harrell says:

    All,
    I’m still in nightmare of biased GAL and time is running out. Daughter turned 17 on the 4th of Jan, 2016. Temp Orders still in place, but GAL’s simple emails override them. Not seeking Custody any more, as this has been going on since Daughter was 14-3/4 yrs old, has had complete freedom (to dive into the depths of darkness) and will be 18 in just one year.
    I AM SEEKING A WAY OUT FOR HER! (Victim of Parental Alienation and needs Treatment.)
    I am holding my (3rd) atty at bay while I investigate a different tactic:
    I found a book named “NOT In the Child’s Best Interest . . .Why Divorce Courts Get It All Wrong and How the Constitution Can Fix It.”
    My local library didn’t have the book, so I asked for an inter-library loan. To my delight, my library purchased the book!
    Current goal: Devour the book (have started it and wish I didn’t have to put it down, but things like health ins for the children, etc. come up).
    Use the advice given here about documenting what we want the GAL to do and then her lack of follow-through, AND following the advice of the Authors, who have been through this nightmare.
    Also, will try to start a local group of people going through same, all reading this and other suggested material and sharing thoughts, experiences and insights for progress in the “Judicial System.” (Not a support group.)
    Will also be lobbying for Family Law reform in my State Legislature. I feel led to do so.
    Welcome any comments, suggestions, inquiries.

    1. Blair says:

      Can you not file a motion to have the GAL replaced and supply the documentation along with the Motion? At least you would be heard and would have brought it to the Court’s attention.

  27. cassie says:

    I am grateful and appalled to find this group. I am grateful so that I know I am not alone; appalled to learn these issues are far more common than I ever wanted to know.

    I do not recall the person who posted about starting a national conversation . If you read this and want to communicate, I am more than willing to work on this very important issue.

    masscass@aol

  28. Cheri says:

    I am in the middle of a nasty custody battle with my ex. Here’s the story:
    My cousin gave her children up legally in court. I took her youngest in with my ex husband. A few years later I left said husband but was forced to comply with Custody and visitation to prevent bio parents from comming back (more out of fear than anything). My child came from a very abusive, neglectful environment (local authorities said it was the worse torture case they’ve experienced, yet won’t put parents in jail for sex trafficking minors [6, 4 and 3.5 years old by the time I got them from the home] sexual misconduct, tied to beds and beaten or touched or forced to have bed bugs crawl on them, locked in rooms for days on end. Yet the courts still allow an opinion from bio parents and wont put children on stand to put in jail.

    I found that my ex and his mom questioned my daughter if I left bruises on her or hit her during her visit with me. Her safety was jepordized 3 times at the daycare center he has her at (not checking adults id and allowing adult to take child from facility). Also had her around his uncle who is a previous registered sex offender and accused of having sex with minors and spent time in prison for it. Takes her to funerals, after she witnessed a murder (yes my baby witnessed a dead body before she was 4 years old).

    I refused visitation for 1.5 months due to his decisions. Now we are in court. We hired guardian, I couldn’t pay all at first but paid 200 and made arrangements for the rest. I am head of household for 5 people. My ex just has him and my daughter. The last time I spoke to guardian was November and it’s January. She had my ex bring my daughter to her (Jan 25, 2016) but I have not heard one word from her since November. There is no communication besides payments and when it will get paid. She did come observe my home and the other people who actively support my daughter and her way of life while with me. But have heard nothing further from her. The magistrate also has personal ties to my ex because he went to school with her son and is friends on Facebook with the magistrate son. When my ex was younger the magistrate did boy scouts with my exes group and his mother. I’ve asked my lawyers to ask for all new magistrate and guardian because of these reasons. I’m still awaiting the answers for that.

    This child is my flesh and blood but I have to fight against my ex who has no blood ties to her. I realize it all comes down to who pays up first. I don’t have a money tree but he does.

    Any thoughts/suggestions would be appreciated.

  29. Griffin says:

    GAL’s are completely worthless to a case… Let me repeat that. GALs are completely worthless to a case. For all of the mentioned reasons above at the beginning of the article. Not to mention the fact that they are making decisions based on things such as “mental abuse”, abuse of individuals, he said, she said and other non evidence such as their own personal bias.They are neither qualified, nor licensed to be making such findings that should involve trained, credentialed individuals in the fields of psychology, therapy and family counseling…

    They in the end cost MANY MORE TIMES what these services that are qualified would cost, and after they tear apart families (because the above is absolutely correct when it says they are viewed as demi-gods by the judges), with their biased, untrained personal “OPINIONS”, then you as a parent are left with thousands of dollars in legal fees to pay for to these cowards and crooks! Not only are they unconstitutional to family law, because they are NOT a legal party to the cases (and merely a scapegoat for lazy judges who do not do the work they should to review a case properly), but they do not have the authority under most states as well as the Federal Constitution to be total authoritarians to people’s lives and choices as to how they want to raise their children!

    A wind of change is coming and will sweep in to our courts, because the American public is growing fed up with having our right to parent trumped by local or federal government…

    GAL’s days as part of the legal horizon are numbered… Because the laws are going to change. And it will be sooner than later, mark my words. Some big money is starting to pour into seeing this change happen…..

    1. Mallnut says:

      When you call attention to domestic violence in a child custody case, a GAL is always assigned. Often one or both parties recommend or the judge appoints the GAL. And unfortunately in small towns, everyone knows each other and there is always bias.

  30. Perfect imperfection says:

    I need help I never been through this I’m fighting a 2nd degree assault and a domestic assault a GAL JUST VISITED ME SHOULD I HAVE TALKED TO MY ATTORNEY FIRST

  31. Ethical Dad in Shock says:

    Kansas GAL, Steve Ellis, is corrupt as the day is long. He has never investigated ANY of the complaints or issues that I have asked him to do so. He mirrors exactly what my ex-wife says. She happens to suffer from severe mental illness. Never investigated that either. My daughter doesn’t have own room and sleeps with her mother. Never looked into. She is punished for saying the truth. Oddly, Steve, and my ex do carry the same “to go” cups from the local bar here. The Judge goes along with everything he says. Who do I contact to investigate this situation. I am a decorated retired/disabled Police Officer that has 40 friends outraged about the wrongs that are taking place in this courtroom and plan on showing up at the next hearing. Does the FBI, or KBI investigate criminal wrong doings of this sort. I do have contacts. Thanks for any information.

    1. Pat says:

      Want to compare notes?

      1. Mike says:

        interested in hearing what you have to say about GAL “Ellis” he’s been recommended.. but I cannot find anything about him online. Seems like being a Mayor would limit your time/involvement in cases..

        1. ethical dad in shock says:

          Steve Ellis is recommended by alot of people. But, no-one who has directly had to work with him. Except his friend Judge Montgomery. He is the mayor, and also works at a local police department. Which is a disgrace to the badge. He does NO investigation, only collects a check. Does lots of things NONE of them well. I would NOT use him. You would get more use out of your money if you used it to wipe in the bathroom.

          1. Pat says:

            If Steven Ellis is your GAL and you are a father, give your kids a hug and tell them you love them, because you will not see them again.

    2. Concerned dad says:

      Dear ethical dad, I am facing the same issue with Steve Ellis. He is siding solely with my ex and couldn’t have even looked at my evidence. Please contact me at ricky04261980@gmail.com

      1. ethical dad says:

        concerned dad, aka Ricky. Sorry, I won’t contact you directly. I feel that ALL the comments regarding Steve Ellis should be known by ALL. He is a fraudulent crook, that belongs behinds bars. But beware, the more you disagree with him the more he tells the court that he needs to get paid. Judge Steve Montgomery, and him are friends. Judge Montgomery is up for reelection November 2016, vote him out of office. He has forgotten he works from the people not his own interests. I will be contacting the KBI, and any agency that will listen to file compaints about them today. I will post additional information later.

        1. Kay says:

          Does anybody have experience to report about GAL Steven Ellis in Kansas City/Johnson County? If so, what judge was involved?

          1. concerned dad says:

            Kay, whatever you do, DONT USE Steve Ellis, He will do nothing but collect a check. He wont do any investigation. He will only use templates of letters that he has used in the past sighting books and findings of people who actually care about children. He will only care about a check and $$ signs. NOT the children and what is best for them. Your only saving grace is that you are in JOCO, not MICO. Judges are alittle better up there. There seems to be an entire system of corruption regarding “The welfare of children.” Hopefully the KBI will put a stop to this.

      2. ethical dad says:

        Additionally, I have expressed GREAT concerns about my ex-wifes father, who is an alcoholic pedophile, being around my kids. Steve Ellis was not concerned at all. Thinks that it is O.K. that they are spending most of the summer with him. HE IS NEVER CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT IS BEST FOR THE KIDS.

      3. E.D. says:

        Hope your situation is getting better. As a father we want to step in and protect our kids from wrong doing. It has been the hardest time of my life waiting and waiting and nothing being done. We can only hope that Karma will catch up to these wrong doers that don’t care about the welfare of the children.

  32. Ethical Dad Still in Shock says:

    This article describes GAL Steven Ellis. The author says a good GAL will go into both parents’ homes to observe the living situation and to observe parent-child interactions. Ellis does not do this. Attentive GALs will investigate claims that a parent interferes in a relationship between the children and the other parent. Ellis does not do this. Ellis conducts little investigation, recites the usual mumbo-jumbo about co-parenting, collects his fee, and goes back to his real job as a the mayor of Springhill. He is a intermeddler who has adds no value but runs up the cost. He is unconcerned with the interest of the children — he says what the judge wants him to say and provides his subjective opinions based on his own family situation.

    1. Mike says:

      Ethical Dad… I am interested in the details of your interaction with Steven Ellis. Would you be interested in direct contact via email?

  33. Worthless_GAL says:

    I feel as if my custody case was mishandled by the G.A.L.. Here’s the situation. The kids mother walked out on us, leaving the kids in my care, residence, etc. She chose drugs and alcohol over having a family essentially which of course caused problems at home. About a year later she was arrested for selling meth to undercover D.E.A. agents. When i found out she was arrested for drugs, etc I immediately requested a modification of our custody order. The G.A.L. at the time I filed modification, seemed to be thinking in the best interest of the my 2 kids, she removed the mothers overnight visits and various other items via a temporary custody order.
    The mother dragged her court proceedings, for the drug conviction, out over the next 1.5 to 2 years. She was finally found guilty by jury trial. She spent 10 days in jail and has 5 years probation.
    It was time to finalize the custody modification. The mother did not have an attorney. We had a trial date set. When the G.A.L. was notified of the original trial date, she wasn’t able to attend the trial so it got pushed off another month. During this month, I had no contact with the G.A.L. I do know that she had the kids mother bring the kids in to speak with her and I’m pretty sure “mom” spoke with this G.A.L. as well (persuading her) . When it came time for our court trial, the G.A.L. wanted to “mediate.” Is this even legal? The G.A.L. chastised me for reporting the kids mother to the probation officer for associating with known drug felons. Stating that I should have brought my concerns to the mother and her boyfriend. There’s several other issues that I had that the G.A.L. basically made me out to be the bad guy. My attorney pretty much just sat there and didn’t make any arguments on my behalf. I was asking for Sole legal custody of my kids with joint physical custody and I also wanted child support. The kids live with me, I pay their insurance premium, I provide them with clothes, etc. One of my concerns was that the mother is using the kids names to draw food stamps fraudulently. (the kids live with me) The G.A.L. basically made the visitation during summer break so the kids mother can continue to draw food stamps. I also was not awarded child support. instead it’s in our papers that the mother reimburses me for the insurance premium.
    So I currently sit frustrated for the past 1.5 years of this custody order. I have not been reimbursed at all for the kids insurance premium. I send the kids to school on fridays of “her weekend” in their decent clothes that fit, and pick them up wearing what I’d consider rags. The mother keeps the kids nice clothes. My son, who is 10 and wears a size 12 or 14, came home last night wearing a pair of size 8 sweat pants that were made into “cut offs” and a size 6-7 long sleeve t-shirt that looked like what I’d use as a rag. Also the boxer shorts he was wearing were size 6. Can I file a formal complaint against this G.A.L.? I know I’ve been told several times that I need to take the mother back to court, but what good will it do if we have the same G.A.L. ? also, since the last court hearing with the G.A.L., the kids mother has changed residence. She neglected to send me notice of them moving via certified mail, and actually lied to me about sending that letter and states that it must have been lost in the mail system. I haven’t been inside the house that they moved into, however I do know that both of the kids sleep on the couch when they stay the night. They don’t have separate private bedrooms, etc. This whole situation is very frustrating.

  34. Ken says:

    The GAL in my case was extremely biased and even with solid proof of my ex’s actions was totally taken in by her. I had to work 5 times harder to prove my side and the cost was insurmountable in time consumption. She (GAL) was so clueless that she didn’t even understand that the court we were in did not have jurisdiction in the case. To bad my lawyer figured it out too late, now we are in the appeal side of the case. GAL’s are a waste of time, money and energy. Know now, you have no chance of turning a judges mind if you are Pro Se, so if you find you are on the loosing end when a GAL is assigned, get the best lawyer you can afford.. Your going to need him/her.

    1. Deana Brandon says:

      I disagree with the conclusion that if you are Prose and you are facing a biased GAL you absolutely have to have an attorney. I was Prose an I had a biased GAL. What I did was document everything and follow up with how I could support my case even more. I sent her a subpoena requiring all email correspondence with her and anyone with the case. WOW! HOW BENEFICIAL AND CRUCIAL TO MY CASE. It is interesting what people will say in a email. Also I have a digital recorder and I recorded my conversations with the GAL and anyone who I knew did not have an ounce of integrity. I dd not choose to go Prose, after 5 years of frivolous Motions being filed my attorney and I came to the conclusion that the other side was trying to bankrupt me so I went solo. You will have to study the laws in your state, know the job role and responsibilities of a GAL and study the rules of civil procedures, court rules, study objections and know what’s allowed to be submitted into evidence but more importantly what is not allowed to be submitted. It takes Hard Work, dedication and Faith that God has not brought you this far to let you fall. I believe people who do not do their job in regards to caring for the best interest of children invite a spotlight on their inexcusable behavior. I wish you much success with your appeal.

    2. Mallnut says:

      How did your appeal go so far? Did you have to switch attorneys and did you get a change in venue of court location?

  35. Ken says:

    You must have had a very special Judge. Every Judge I have had is more concerned with clearing the docket then hearing all the facts. I had 23 counts of solid purgery against my ex in her response to my motion and the judge didn’t want to hear it, all she wanted to hear was the exact facts of the case. Even after I explained that her purging herself is part of the case the judge didn’t want to hear any of it. She wouldn’t even go over my stipulations point by point. She just wanted to resolve one thing and didn’t care about anything else. This is not the first time this has happened, as a matter of fact it has happened 3 times with 2 different Judges. In 4 years of being in and out of court, I have only had one Judge that wanted to hear everything. My son was 31 days from his 18th birthday and the Judge refused to have him in the court room, even when he stood up and said he wanted to be in the court room because he was the only non biased witness to the he said/she said stuff. I have 4 years of emails and the judge accuses me of writing volume’s of emails. When I state that if my ex would just once stick to the court ordered visitation I would never have any more than 1 email per visitation, but when my ex says she is not sending my kids for Thanksgiving and makes up some crazy rule that has nothing to do with anything, what am I supposed to do, just roll over and let her take all the holidays?.. Judge didn’t want to hear any of it. I was told to file another motion. I said ” how can I put foundation to my case if I cant cite emails where my ex circumvents all reason.

    1. Deana Brandon says:

      I am completely sorry to hear what you have endured. I think I would have to speak to an attorney that handles personal injury suits and question if your Civil Rights have been violated. You have a right to present your case and to be heard. The credibility of the GAL would seem relevant to me. May I ask what state you reside in?

    2. Concerned dad says:

      Ken, I have recently dealt with perjury in the court also and you can take the evidence to the sherrifs dept and file a report. They take it to the DA and they decide to file charges. Look into requirements to prove perjury. I will be filing against my ex next week. Good luck

      1. Blair says:

        Ken, can you explain the perjury complaint you are filing? If the DA takes the case what does that mean for you? I guess I’m trying to figure out where does this benefit you? I’m floored with so much crooked GALs what happened to looking out for the children? So sad.
        I appreciate you taking the time to share.

  36. Gail says:

    We are currently going through a custody case where the GAL is obviously bias and we believe that she tainted the opinion of the court appointed co-parenting counselor whom she frequently works with. I have expressed concerns to the GAL about my children through emails and have never gotten any satisfactory results. I have given the GAL some of my opinions about my ex, most of which came from concerns my children have expressed and I know through statements made by this counselor that she knows of this information and that is the only way she could have gotten it. My question is…Is it ethical for the GAL to disclose this information to the co-parenting counselor?

  37. Lisa says:

    I have a GAL who has been doing it for yrs, at first I thought it was a good idea and have tried numerous times to comply with suggestions she has had, but now feel as though THOES suggestions have been for the sole benefit of my ex instead of for my daughter. To start out, my daughter is mentally disabled. She is about to turn 19 in August and I have guardianship of her of which the GAL testified on my behalf on THIS issue. My daughter was 2 yrs old the last time my ex saw or spoke to my daughter. As a matter of fact, he never visited our daughter without a member of HIS family being present, and would always make an excuse of why he had to leave early and NOT give her her much needed seizure medication. He would say things like he wasn’t sure how to give it to her even after I took 5 mins to make sure he knew the dosage and how to mix it. It was not rocket science. Crush a pill and put it in pudding or applesauce. One to.e he took her for an hr and brought her back and said he just had to get back to his wife at the hotel. I said it wS no problem and asked him if he had given our daughter her medication and he said “no, you know how to give it to her, so I just waited til I brought her back.” Needless to say he has never given her her anticonvulsants. That was the last time we heard from him til a wk after her 17th birthday, when he called and said he felt guilty about not being in her life. I sat there on the phone “angry, but quiet”, listened to what he said and then told him I was not in the right attitude at that time to speak to him and to call back in a couple of days. The next morning was busy with a letter to the court and a call to my attorney. I DID allow for 1 overnight visit an hr from MY house, my ex lives 5 hours away, and it was agreed upon that it was at a neutral setting at a college town so there were things for he and our daughter to do. The agreement was that he, our daughter, and myself would have separate email, our daughter and myself in 1 rm, and he in another. I am on disability and really don’t have any disposable income.e, but I pd $85.00 for a rm not wanting to be beholden to HIM to pay for it. 2 days before the “visitation” took place, he called me and said he was going to be bringing he and his wife’s daughter to visit since she hadn’t seen her since she were a toddler. I reluctantly agreed, what else could I do? The day of the visit I get a text say HIS daughter was bringing her best friend so she wouldn’t be bored. The whole “visitation” visit was centered around a mini vacation for “them” instead of a visitation with our daughter. The GAL, said I was being unrealistic in my opinions of his role as a father for her when he lives so far away. There has been MANY more issues with GAL and not enough space or time to put it all out there, but would LOVE to know if her services are still required, or if I can or need to petition the court to relieve her. This GAL has been more stressful than helpful.

  38. Frustrated mother says:

    I am in Missouri and am having a nightmare of a time dealing with our GAL. First off, he is already a judge in the county where the divorce/custody case is occurring. This, too me, is a conflict. Yet the worst is that he refuses to speak to the children about their best interests, needs, and wants. He was also supposed to do a home visit of the father’s house because there are definitely unsafe conditions. He hasn’t bothered to go. Then he was overheard telling another attorney that he didn’t see the point in doing a home visit and that no one does those. My attorney has repeatedly attempted to contact him and is documenting everything he has refused to do. He even went so far as to make a comment that showed he sided with the father. I know there are many great fathers out there that deserve more custody of their kids, but this big push for fathers’ rights is causing an unfit father to get everything handed to him by the judge and court. The father is a felon, has a DWI, has been caught lying about court matters, and several other unacceptable behaviors, but at every turn, the court and his corrupt lawyer keep giving him everything. I am the only one desperately fighting for the best interests of my daughters. Can anyone please give advice on how to fight this complete injustice towards my daughters?

    1. Anne says:

      Make a bar complaint against the gal:judge and see if you can include witnesses make a journal date time of everything that occurred hopefully the judge gal will recuse himself!!! Also look online to see if they are friends on Facebook etc

    2. concerned dad says:

      USE these “GALS” names! We as a community must make everyone of these worthless GALS names known to all. Write formal complaints to the appropriate agencies. The universe and karma will eventually catch up with them.

      1. Joe Smith says:

        Concerned dad,

        Just like you, I am choosing an obvious fake name on this blog to hide my identity. I will reveal when the time is right but still getting all my ducks in a row. Using their names is good advice but be cautious as you need to consider them as powerful as the judge. Because they are. Make sure you have a true understanding of the law. “Best interests of the child” is a phrase that continues to be abused and also is a lie. It is a constitutional right to be a parent no matter how bad you are at it. I don’t agree with it but it’s fact. If you are truely being done wrong and not just have a chip on your shoulder, hit them where it hurts. Filing a complaint will just add to the stack of papers growing on someone’s desk. This is there business and livelihood.. You will notice the good ones have an online presence and the bad, have none. You can create the online presence for them via Yelp and create the forum they cannot control and make sure the masses have the info they need. Unfortunately this will probably be abused by those whose experience just did not go their way but right now there are not many options. I have plans for that in the future but have some homework to do fist. BeenVerified is also powerful to get some background on these individuals. I spent countless hours gathering my info and learned the GAL assigned does not meet the qualifications due to criminal history. Most people who use Facebook don’t know how to use Facebook. I know more about my GAL than probably some of the GAL’s closest friends. I see what motivates her base on her life experiences and is reflected in her work. If your GAL is a female and married, use Facebook to learn their maiden name. Do searches on both.
        Do your homework, understand the law the best you can, understand the system is flawed. Flawed systems have weeknesses. Find them and use them to your advantage. You will drive yourself insane trying to make logical sense of it all. This is a lucrative business. Check out the documentary Divorce Corp.

    3. Mallnut says:

      My case is in Missouri too. Shannon County–the most corrupt in the state. My police reports against the abusive father disappeared and the GAL recommended sole custody for him without the ex taking the psych eval. GAL called the evaluator while I was taking the exam and her notes were used in the report, which are lies told by my ex husband.

  39. Angie says:

    Recently my husband’s girls were appointed a GAL. Which would be swell if it weren’t for the fact that she instantly sided with the mother. We just finished a custody battle after their mother moved them out of state (this has been a long time between my husband and his ex). Even though all the evidence proved they would be better fit to stay with us, the GAL convinced the judge otherwise. And honestly, can one blame him? After all, a GAL is supposed to be there for the kids. Unfortunately, she wasn’t. She made it known that she was all for my husband’s ex. Even advocated her in court when she had her own lawyer to take care of her. We lost the case, obviously. But what made it horrible was the GAL’s obvious unprofessional attitude. She called my husband to rub it in his face about him losing the case. She also yelled at him after the court session AND walked away with the mom and her lawyer. It was one-sided and it wasn’t right for those girls. Now my husband is a total wreck, with good reason. I told him to start recording phone calls with the GAL. But we have no idea what to do. Unfortunately, the state of Kansas is a no dad state. They would much rather see the mom, even if she is a danger to the kids, get the children before they give them to their father. I don’t know what to do. I wish there was a way to fight this, and to prove that she is an unfit GAL for those kids.

  40. Ellie says:

    GAL’s are appointed in other instances too. We got one in a guardianship of a parent with Alzheimer’s. Total nightmare. But at least before reading this the GAL was sent a list of issues to investigate. Barely spoke with me and made up their mind already. Biased on many different levels. Told me I wouldn’t make a good guardian because of my depression. Do you have depression? Many folks do. Ever have someone threaten to take your kids away just for having it? This is the same. Law is corrupt.

  41. Sharon says:

    My gurdian ad litem was appointed by the judge to determine timesharing and relocation. My ex witnesses lied for him which i can prove next month in trial .The gal said that I manipulated my kids to lie to cops about the violence my kids pass by my ex and his family. Can i prove that i didnt ,by lie detector or poligraph? Also gave my ex ultimate decision on education and health. And blamed me for the reason marriage broke.also stated that i am the discipline one and my ex husband is the friend figure and emotional support when i was with my kids as acstay home mom and he works late. My relocation offcourse denied for readon that i will not promote connection between the kids and the father . He didn’t even look at all the research he asked me to do for relocate.he missed details about my ex actions that even principal of school claim is aggressive to staff. and so many other incidents he did that hurts kids. I find it all this strange . Is the fact that he paid gal not me influenced his decision. It felt from beginning that he is not nuetral by every report he submitted. Also my ex got 50 ,and in his timesharing i pick up the kids for him and stays with me till 6 pm when he finish work, he got exactly as he wanted by his needs, with no thinking on my needs too. What can i do about it ?

    1. Dan says:

      Sharon why are you complaining and talking about a “trial?” You and your ex got 50/50; both parents won, and your kids won that case. You were litigating child custody and the court actually treated you and the co-parent roughly equally. It sounds like the judge simply ignored the biased GAL, sheer luck for everyone concerned, when in times past, or times ahead, for no reason whatsoever, any given family court could or would have given you, Sharon, no custodial rights, and two hours of prohibitively expensive supervised visits once every two weeks (ultimately resulting in zero parenting time). This kind of routine in the family litigation industry enables family lawyers to get all the families’ (both parents) assets in the war and drama that would follow this drastically unfair and unequal arrangement, but it is routine. Sharon you should definitely be advised to count your deep, precious blessings, and do not go to trial if there is any conceivable way to avoid this, even if you must agree to getting the kids 15% of the time (because a trial could easily result in you getting zero parenting time, no matter who you are or what your relationship is with the kids). Many family court judges are abusive, sadistic, malicious and/or corrupt, doing nothing but serving the interests of lawyers, GALs, custody evaluators, and others who profit off the conflict and extreme disparities that they get untrained, unskilled, biased, dim-witted or crooked family court judges to order, often through ex parte protection orders that are granted almost automatically in favor of the first parent to file, in most state and county courts. This is how they get your money. Awaken, beware.

  42. Tom Melograno aka Joe S. says:

    Took 17 months but finally did it. All cases removed and under investigation by DSS. Unfortunately changes nothing for our case. The damage has already been done but we will keep fighting. Will sleep better knowing she can’t do this to another child/children/family again.

    For those who are truly being done wrong, don’t give up and don’t allow yourself to be bullied. Stand your ground and do your homework. Do not sign an agreement based on fear if you know you are in the right. That was our mistake. Do not solely depend on your attorney. Some take on 30 – 100 cases at a time.

    DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT and stay organized. Remember, it is not about the “best interest of the children”. It’s about the constitutional right to be a parent no matter how bad at it you may be.

    To the others using the court’s flaws to their advantage, ignore this message. You should get what you deserve.

    Emergency hearing next week. In front of the same judge who made his decision based on her affidavit then assigned to the temp order. Hoping he uses the opportunity to right a wrong.

    1. Tom Melograno says:

      Guess I did not fight hard enough and have to get louder. Now legally separated and in the family courts with the biological mother of my children. One may ask why a GAL that was removed still speaks to one of her ex-clients? Still bleed green and now pissed off!

      1. Tom Melograno says:

        Forgot to mention. We are getting a divorce because the attorney I mentioned months ago has called the mother of my step-daughters and said if we ever get back together, her client will have her daughters taken away. Sorry, but jail is not enough to stop me. I will just get louder the more pissed off I get. Not a quality I am proud but mind as well use it to my advantage.

  43. Tom Melograno aka Joe S. says:

    I am the stepfather. A stepfather who also has two beautiful daughters of his own but loves his step-daughters just the same. Me and my ex are friends and so is my ex and my wife. My agenda is not to keep the biological father out. His agenda, however, is revenge on his ex and have the facts to back it up. He was a liar back then and continues to be one today. This is not accusation but fact and have proof to back it up. He did not follow the recommendations of councilors and even tried to cause conflict between me and my ex.

    We are truly a successful blended family. My girls love my wife and my wife’s girls love me. We live in separate house holds because unselfishly we wanted the girls to drive the relationship. They are now planning our wedding and continue to hint we all should live together. My wife and I live 50 yards away from each other. Me, my wife and my ex all work together to raise all 4 girls.

    Held her in contempt for denying visitation and lost cause he admitted in court she was not denying visitation. This was three weeks ago. He has since fired his attorney and has hired one that lives in directly in the middle of me and my wife. Police have been called three times in the past month because his new attorney (I am assuming) advised him to do so. Her office is the same neighborhood we live in and I know for a fact he was sitting in her parking lot for 15 minutes prior to the visitation. Had a swagger about him that day and broke a promise he made to his daughters. “I will never force you to go”. Swagger was lost when I said I would call them for him. Got police report and turns out he was calling them on me for disorderly conduct. Invited a sergeant to my home today and has been brought up to speed and is fully aware of the truth. One of my stepdaughters friends can no longer hang out because of all the police activity. Post proactive pics of himself and “pitty me” MIMES on FB. Down now since one of his daughter’s friends showed it her and she was humiliated. She asked me to take care of it and I did. Reactivated my FB account and demanded he take it down. Down 30 minutes later.

    I helped this man get back on his feet and allowed him to be my assistant coach when I coached soccer when we were neighbors. Took the shotgun away from him when he tried to commit suicide in front of entire family. Even invited him to my home last Halloween. Reached out numerous times to have a face to face and at least be civil even though I did not agree on how he lied his way back into the girls lives. I’m done trying.

    Regarding documentaton, here is an example:

    7/22/14: RTSC filed against Defendant/Mother by Plaintiff/Father. Plaintiff/Father’s attorney and Plaintiff/Father hire GAL for consultation in accessing his compliance with previous order.
    3/5/15 – 4/13/15: GAL has multiple consultations with Plaintiff/Father
    4/13/15: GAL provides affidavit (as a GAL) in favor of Plaintiff/Father stating numerous incompetent councilor and herself are in agreement as to their concerns of what appears to be parent alienation. This in addition to other claims in her affidavit are inaccurate and/or false. Defendant/Mother and/or children are never interviewed during this process.
    4/27/15: At RTSC, Judge rules in favor of Plaintiff/Father and immediate visitation, 48 hours later will begin. An individual who other councilors involved advised Defendant/Mother to protect her children from.

    1. A decision based on GAL’s affidavit.
    2. Judge assigns GAL to this temporary order.
    3. My wife will be threatened with Parent Alienation anytime shenquestions/challenges reunification process.
    4. During the one and only interview (after RTSC hearing) with Defendant/Mother, GAL refers to her affidavit as a “business transaction” and is now wearing a different hat. To little girls were behind this business transaction.

    GAL never…
    – Interviewed children
    – Met children other than the first visitation which was 48 hours after judge made his decision. Spent 20 minutes at Plaintiff/Father’s with girls while they opened gifts.
    – Visited school
    – Visited Defendant/Mother’s home
    – Visited Plaintiff/Father’s home after initial visit

    GAL did…
    – Continue consultations with Plaintiff/Father. Not once with my wife
    – Repeatedly threatened Defendant/Mother via email and voicemail with court orders and contempt charges
    – Recommends a counselor for co-parenting who violated ethical codes of the American Psychological Association (which he is a member of) by having individual sessions with Plaintiff/Father without Defendant/Mother’s knowledge. My wife would then be blind-sided during sessions.
    – Complicated “process” even when co-parenting sessions, in the court’s opinion, were heading in the right direction.
    – Made false allegations against me when I wanted to schedule a session with councilor, Plaintiff/Father and myself after Plaintiff/Father created tension with me and my ex.

    “As it relates to (my wife) new husband… I do not believe its in the childrens best interest for him to be involved in any aspect of coparenting with the girlsfather. I hope (my wife) is able to maintain strong boundaries with her husband as it relates to her and (my wife’s ex) girls. You have a very good and
    specific techniques that im sure are benifiting my wards and their parents. This technique has not been imbedded into stepdad and my knowledge of him has me comfortable in a solid statement that im not sure that it would help him much. He has attempted manipulation and control through direct and aggressive and even fraudulent attempts with not only me but other professionals. It is my
    recommendation that he is not to be allowed a say so in coparenting or an opportunity to manipulate any one on this case until he has engaged in individual therapy with you as well.”

    Facts regarding GAL’s claims
    1. If manipulation means telling the truth. Then I’m guilty.
    2. If aggressive is not tolerating threats from my wife’s ex. Then I’m guilty
    3. Fraudulent refers to my counseling sessions with one of the three counselors assigned by the courts. She was incompetent. She claims I lied about my name. That is not accurate. I used my name. I did this as the councilor told my wife one thing and my wife’s ex another.
    Have proof to back all this up.

    4. We learned her threats were truly threats. Three weeks prior to mediation, GAL leaves obnoxious VM threatening contempt if Defendant/Mother does not return her call by 5PM that day. Defendant/Mother emails GAL expressing she does not appreciate such voicemails. GAL is ignored moving forward and no such charges were ever filed.

    5. Mediator was not fond of GAL
    6. My wife did sign the mediation agreement due to the constant threats of parent alienation claims and possible 50/50 custody claims from GAL. That was a mistake by my wife and should have taken this to trial. However, she has followed the agreement fully.
    7. Learn from previous lawyer, GAL was caught charging lawyer rates instead of lay by a different client. Client post negative review and she immedidately takes down her business FB page.

    GAL is solely responsible for all of this. Stay away from them all. They only make it more complicated.

  44. Tom Melograno aka Joe S. says:

    In addition to documentation. Educate yourself and use resources available. I can’t take all the credit. Others involved as well. But here is some of my contributions.

    Guidelines for Guardians ad Litem for Children in Family Court
    http://www.scbar.org/public/files/docs/galbrochure.pdf

    § 20-7-1547 Qualifications
    (7) must not have been convicted of any crime listed in Chapter 3 of Title 16, Offenses Against the Person; in Chapter 15 of Title 16, Offenses Against Morality and Decency; in Chapter 25 of Title 16, Criminal Domestic Violence; in Article 3 of Chapter 53 of Title 44, Narcotics and Controlled Substances; or convicted of the crime of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, provided for in Section 16-17-490.

    Case Number: ******
    • GAL
    • A County Magistrate
    • 2671 – Criminal Domestic Violence
    • Guilty Bench Trial
    • Section 16-25-20 (4) (i) the report of any criminal offense, bodily injury, or property damage to a law enforcement agency;

    Additional Hearings/Violations
    • The State of South Carolina vs GAL
    o 2671 – Domestic Violence
    • The State of South Carolina vs GAL
    o 0528 – Shoplifting
    • The State of South Carolina vs GAL
    o 0670 – Drawing and Uttering a Fraudulent Checks
    • A company vs GAL
    o Rule to Vacate

    Resources
    • Chapter 3 of Title 16
    • Chapter 15 of Title 16
    • Chapter 25 of Title 16
    • CDR Codes

    She should never been aloud to be a GAL to begin with.

  45. Tom Melograno aka Joe S. says:

    Almost comical now. Just got word that the GAL’s receptionist who I also know everything about is now a GAL for the business owner who is currently under investigation. Why even have a qualifications doc if there is no validation??

    I’m not finished with them yet. Accountability to follow. That is another fact. Attorney ready but focusing on the girls and what is truely “in their best interests” first.

  46. Tom Melograno aka Joe S. says:

    Almost forgot. My wife will be served today as well. They are filing an emergency hearing. Can’t wait to hear what his claim is this time. We will likely be heard the same day. I will let you know how it turns out.

  47. Tom Melograno aka Joe S. says:

    I know I’m ranting now but here’s a question I know no one can answer…

    If my wife denies visitation, which she never has. (Girls refuse to go because he abandoned them for two years and does not take the advise of the councilors. Plus my wife’s ex texts you are a “villain” while the oldest was playing minecraft on her phone. That was back in June and they have not gone since) She is breaking the law.

    But here is another law (referring to item 1). Knowing what we know, what law do you break?

    SECTION 63-5-70. Unlawful conduct towards child.

    (A) It is unlawful for a person who has charge or custody of a child, or who is the parent or guardian of a child, or who is responsible for the welfare of a child as defined in Section 63-7-20 to:

    (1) place the child at unreasonable risk of harm affecting the child’s life, physical or mental health, or safety;

    (2) do or cause to be done unlawfully or maliciously any bodily harm to the child so that the life or health of the child is endangered or likely to be endangered; or

    (3) wilfully abandon the child.

    (B) A person who violates subsection (A) is guilty of a felony and for each offense, upon conviction, must be fined in the discretion of the court or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

  48. Tom Melograno says:

    So this is what it’s going to be like. Walking Jax and yes notice biological father’s truck in her parking lot. Ran into one of the girls’ friend’s father and were talking quite a bit. Then I see the attorney’s car pass me once while he is still in the parking lot. Then a second time, then a third time. All while the biological father is still at her office.

    Hope they got whatever they needed.

    Got the police report today finally and he told the officer that the attorney told him to call. Disgrace but I have to give her the benefit of the doubt. He had me fooled for quite awhile too.

  49. Tom Melograno aka Joe S. says:

    Must have switched gears. Wife has not been served yet. His FB is back up but deleted all the pity me MIMEs and half naked pics. Then blocked me. Like I don’t have all the screen shots.

  50. Tom Melograno says:

    Who is policing them?!? I’m tired of being the one discovering information. Found even more last night. I am by no means getting my jollies from this. I have a family to enjoy and bleed green. Could not even tell you what the Eagles are doing right now or who their QB is.

    I know those I speak of are reading this. And I know I will be accused of intimidation/aggressive behaviors and/or threats. Please challenge me on any of my claims! I will give you a sneak peak.

    Those who think they got me based on my past, yes I am fully aware of the felonies on my record and hope it’s brought up. Although a mistake when I was a hothead, it will not supports your claims but strengthen mine. I know now I have too much to lose and learned my laptop carries more of a punch than my hands.

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