The main types of Guardian Ad Litem legal services offered are the following:
1. Investigate and make recommendations on time-sharing and other parenting plan matters: This can be done in conjunction with a custody evaluation wherein I make interim recommendations pending the completion of a full custody evaluation by a psychologist (Rule 11-706 evaluator). It also can be done instead of a custody evaluation except that I do not do any psychological testing.
2. Monitoring of compliance with court orders and referrals for services: When a Parenting Plan is already in place, a guardian ad litem can assist the parents in monitoring compliance with court orders, making referrals as needed and assisting to resolve disputes that arise between the parents in the best interest of the children.
3. Parent coordinator duties: Similar to #2 above, a guardian ad litem can be appointed to specifically assist the parents with decision making on matters concerning their children to avoid costly litigation. As guardian ad litem or special master parent coordinator, I can meet with the parents on a regular basis to discuss and resolve issues concerning the children as they arise. If the parent agree, pursuant to a stipulated court order, to give me arbitration authority then I can make a decision for the parents on the disputed issue if they cannot otherwise reach a mutual agreement.
4. Relocation cases: As guardian ad litem, I can fully investigate a parent’s request to relocate with the children out-of-state and make a recommendation to the court on whether such request is in the best interest of the children.
5. Kinship guardianship cases: If a kinship guardianship is objected to by one or both parents, a guardian ad litem is appointed to investigate the situation and make recommendations pursuant to the Kinship Guardianship Act.
$250.00 an hour plus gross receipts taxes ($125.00 each parent or as otherwise court ordered to be split).
$4000.00 initial retainer fee ($2000.00 each parent or as otherwise court ordered to be split).
* TO GET STARTED, THERE MUST BE LANGUAGE APPOINTING LAURA CASS, ESQ. AS GUARDIAN AD LITEM WITH OR WITHOUT ARBITRATION AUTHORITY IN A PARENTING PLAN, AMENDING PARENTING PLAN OR BY A SEPARATE ORDER SIGNED BY THE PARTIES AND THE COURT. A guardian ad litem’s duties should be specifically spelled out in the Order Appointing Guardian Ad Litem so that there is no confusion about the role and scope of the appointment, including whether or not the guardian ad litem has full arbitration authority or arbitration authority pending either parent’s right to file objections with the Court.
It is highly recommended that the parents agree to the appointment with “arbitration authority”. This allows me to make binding recommendation, subject to court review so that time sensitive matters can be resolved quickly.