In Juvenile Court dependency proceedings, has a right to an attorney at all stages of the proceeding and the court shall appoint an attorney for the alleged dependent .
To leave this site now, use the X button. If you are in danger, please use a safer computer. Computer use can be monitored and is impossible to completely clear. If you are involved in a divorce, paternity or non-parent custody case where the other parent does not agree with you, the court may appoint a Guardian ad Litem GAL or Parenting Evaluator. Here are some tips to help you work successfully with the GAL. This question is understandable.
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Computer use can be monitored and is impossible to completely clear. In a family law case where the parties disagree about the parenting plan, the court may appoint a Guardian ad Litem GALor an Evaluator. In a family law case where the parties are fighting about the parenting plan, the judge may appoint a Guardian ad Litem GAL or an Evaluator.
Guardian ad Litems in Family Law Cases has more info. Whether either parent should meet certain requirements to be able to spend time with the children. It depends. The order appointing the GAL should say when the report is due. If not, ask the GAL when to expect it. Under RCW RCW You may have only a short time to do so.
Ask the judge to order an investigation to show it is in your child's best interest for you to have custody
Have a set of blank Declaration forms ready for you and your witnesses to fill out as soon as you see the report. Call the court clerk or check local rules ahead of time. Ask for more time. The report is usually important and can sway the court. If you disagree with the report, you must show the court why it should not follow the GAL's recommendations. Take a deep breath. Getting a report you do not agree with can be upsetting.
Try to calm down. Try to meet with a lawyer before your response is due. You can take the steps below yourself so your lawyer has better info to help you.
Carefully review the report. Make a copy of it for yourself. Keep a clean copy in case someone else needs to review it. Write down or mark any major errors. This includes things the GAL wrote that you feel are wrong and recommendations you feel are inappropriate. Think about ways to counter what the GAL has said.
That means evidence from someone with no personal interest in your case, like testimony or declarations from professionals who work with you or your children. The GAL may include statements from the other party or witnesses you disagree with. The GAL must interview all relevant witnesses. You must review each part of the report in relation to the conclusions. Ask the GAL for a copy of her file on your case. You may be able to persuade the GAL to copy the file for you.
You may have to do it yourself.
You may have to pay a fee for copying. Look for:. Take notes about any of the above to remind you how to respond to any negatives in the report and to question the GAL about what they left out of their report. Check with your witnesses who spoke with the GAL. The GAL report is sealed. You cannot show it to your witness without court permission.
Explain to your witness how the report described her interview.
You must file with the court any declarations you want it to consider, and send copies to all other parties and the GAL. You might also have to leave "working copies" of the declarations for the judge. Ask the clerk if they require working copies. What are Working Copies? Keep copies of any declarations you file.
Guardian ad litem (juvenile court dependency proceedings)
If the report you are responding to is for a trial, you must have your witnesses testify in person. Do not have them write declarations. If you plan to call witnesses to testify at trial, you must disclose those witnesses to the other party before trial.
Your court might have a witness form you must use. Check with the witnesses or references you asked the GAL to contact, but whose names were not in the GAL's notes or report. Some GAL's will not contact witnesses who are not professionally involved with you or your family. File the declaration with the court.
Send the other parties and the GAL copies. Keep a copy for yourself. Ask the witness to testify at trial. If you feel parts of the evaluation went poorly because, for example, you were nervous or the children misbehaved more than usual, ask for another meeting or explain to the GAL why things went poorly.
You should put your requests for another meeting in writing. If the GAL refuses, write down what the GAL said, when, and how the conversation took place — by phone, in person, or by letter. You can also give a declaration explaining why the evaluation went poorly. It should focus on what happened during the meeting. Do not personally attack the GAL. If you feel the GAL was influenced by stereotypes about your disability, race, ethnicity, or culture, try to find a witness with expertise about your disability, race, and so on, who can explain your behavior in relation to your background.
Ask that person to make a declaration or be a court witness. If you ask your treatment providers or others to testify for you, the other party and judge will question them, too. When you ask people for declarations, the other party and judge will read the declarations. If the GAL has made conclusions about your mental health that seem wrongtry to get a psychological evaluation by another professional. Do not tell the GAL you are having an evaluation unless it goes well and you want the person to testify at trial.
If you cannot get a more positive evaluation, try to show how you are working to stabilize or improve your mental health. Example: The GAL made conclusions and had little supporting evidence from the file or in the report.
You should point this out to the court during your hearing or trial. You must file your Declarations and other documents the required of days before your hearing and serve them on the other parties and GAL. Check if you must also submit "working copies. If you cannot meet the deadline and you have good reason example : the GAL provided the report too late for you to respondbring your originals and copies to the hearing.
Hearings are usually short. Witnesses may not usually testify at a hearing.
Focus on your positives. Try to find witnesses who will testify about why you are a good parent, especially if they are not friends or family.
Put them on the witness list for trial. The deadline for disclosure of witnesses you want to testify at trial is often before the date you will actually get the GAL report. Try to guess what witnesses you should have testify, so you can disclose them by the deadline. Look at what the GAL left out.