In Colorado, a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) is appointed by the court to represent the best interests of a child in legal proceedings, particularly in cases involving child abuse, neglect, custody disputes, or dependency and neglect cases. To have a Guardian ad Litem appointed in Colorado, you typically need to follow these steps:
- Initiate a Legal Proceeding:
- A GAL is usually appointed in the context of a legal proceeding, such as a divorce, child custody case, or dependency and neglect case. To start the process, you’ll need to initiate the appropriate legal action in the Colorado court that has jurisdiction over your case.
- Request the Appointment of a GAL:
- In your legal pleading or petition, you can include a request for the appointment of a Guardian ad Litem. Explain why you believe it is in the child’s best interests to have a GAL involved in the case. Be specific about the issues or concerns that necessitate a GAL’s involvement.
- Court Evaluation and Appointment:
- The court will evaluate your request and the circumstances of the case. If the court determines that it is necessary to appoint a GAL, it will issue an order for the appointment. The court may also consider input from other parties involved in the case.
- Selection of a GAL:
- Once the court orders the appointment of a GAL, the next step is to select a qualified GAL. In Colorado, GALs are typically attorneys or trained professionals with expertise in child welfare and family law. The court may have a list of qualified GALs, or you may have the opportunity to suggest a GAL for consideration.
- Payment for GAL Services:
- In some cases, the parties involved in the legal proceeding may be responsible for paying the GAL’s fees. The court will determine how the GAL’s fees will be allocated among the parties.
- GAL’s Role in the Case:
- The appointed Guardian ad Litem will represent the child’s best interests throughout the legal proceedings. This includes conducting interviews, investigating the child’s circumstances, attending court hearings, and making recommendations to the court about what is in the child’s best interests.
- Collaborate with the GAL:
- It’s important for all parties involved in the case to work collaboratively with the GAL. Share information, attend meetings as required, and cooperate with the GAL’s efforts to gather information and make recommendations.
- Court Review:
- The court will review the GAL’s findings and recommendations when making decisions about the child’s welfare, custody, or placement. The GAL’s input can be influential in the court’s determinations.
- Follow Court Orders:
- It’s essential to comply with any court orders related to the GAL’s involvement in the case. Failure to do so can have legal consequences.
Keep in mind that the specific procedures and requirements for appointing a Guardian ad Litem in Colorado can vary based on the nature of the legal case and the county in which it is heard. It’s advisable to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law or child welfare matters to ensure that you follow the correct procedures and meet the necessary legal standards when seeking the appointment of a GAL in your case.