SPC Blog: What You Need to Know

Testimony reveals major flaws in Connecticut’s Guardian ad litem system

Testimony before the Judiciary Committee on Friday, April 5, 2013, revealed major flaws in Connecticut’s Guardian ad litem system. GALs are supposed to interpret the “best interest of the child” in contested custody cases. Often, judges lean heavily on information provided by the GAL. The ability of parents to spend time with their children can depend on support from the GAL.

Many of those testifying reported problems, including:

  1. Poor training. GALs require only 30 hours of training. No law degree, no study of child behavior, no other experience with children.
  2. No accountability. The parents paying the bills cannot fire the GAL! And, GALs have immunity from law suits.
  3. Few meetings with children and refusal to meet with those intimately involved with the children’s lives.
  4. Excessive pay. Hourly rates were reported in the $200-$325 range and total billings in excess of $20,000 per year. The testimony suggested that GALs are more interested in the pay than in the welfare of children. Parents can be jailed for failure to pay GALs.
  5. In some cases, getting a high paying GAL assignment requires a cozy relationship with an attorney representing one side of the custody case. In these cases, the GAL may be more interested in supporting the attorney than in the children.

In fairness, other parents have had good experience with GALs. But the testimony suggests major problems with the GAL system.

What is your experience with Connecticut’s GAL system? Click on the title above to leave a comment.

Recent Posts

Co-parenting Tips

  How do you effectively parent children after divorce or separation? In this video professionals talk. They know about emotional, legal, and practical issues related to co-parenting, parallel parenting and parenting of all sorts. We have studied the evidence on...

read more

Shared Parenting Reduces Child Abuse And Neglect

Shared parenting reduces child abuse and neglect. Why? Abusers are identified up-front and denied shared parenting when courts are doing their job. Guardrails include protective orders, ex parte orders, child protective services, domestic violence (DV) counseling for...

read more

CT legislature must protect domestic abuse victims

When child abuse or neglect is reported, the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF) investigates and evaluates it, and if necessary, they may remove the child from an abusive parent. The person reporting the abuse, whether a teacher, a neighbor, a relative or the other parent, does not have to pay for this. It is covered by the state. During divorce proceedings it is different. Protective parents must pay their own attorneys to safeguard children who are abused by the other parent. Sometimes they must also pay a guardian ad litem for the child. This is expensive. Divorcing parents should not have to ruin their finances to protect themselves or their children from child abuse.
The full article by Maureen Martowska, Genevieve DeLuca and Martin Kulldorff was published by the CT Mirror: https://ctmirror.org/2023/02/28/ct-legislature-protect-domestic-abuse-victims/

read more