Florida Guardian ad Litem Qualifications
Guardian Ad Litems are a integral part of many Florida divorce cases, but guardian ad litem qualifications are sometimes questioned. Qualifications of those who are committed to serve as a Guardian Ad Litem are described in Florida Statue 61.402.
While the Court may appoint a Guardian Ad Litem if it finds it is in the best interest of the child, only certain individuals are permitted to serve.
Florida Statute 61.402
Florida Statue 61.402 requires a person who is appointed as a Guardian Ad Litem be:
- Certified by the Guardian Ad Litem program pursuant to Florida Statue 39.821;
- Certified by a nonprofit legal aid organization as defined in Florida Statue 68.096;
- Be an attorney who is a member in good standing of the Florida Bar.
In many Boca Raton divorce cases, other attorneys serve as the Guardian Ad Litem for a minor child because they are experienced in family law litigation and understand the intricacies about a child custody or timesharing case. If the child has an Attorney Ad Litem also appointed to advocate for the child, an attorney who is acting as a child’s Guardian Ad Litem will be hopefully familiar with communicating with other attorneys about the case. More importantly, hopefully the guardian ad litem has authority to communicate about these matters.
Allegations of Child Abuse, Neglect, or Abandonment
In cases where the Court has determined that there are both founded allegations of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect, Florida Statue 61.402 limits those who may be appointed as a Guardian Ad Litem in those cases. The guardian ad litem qualifications necessary to serve those cases are limited to certified Guardian Ad Litems or attorneys who are members of the Florida Bar. The Guardian Ad Litem who is certified by a nonprofit legal aid organization as defined in Florida Statue 68.096 may not serve in these, more often times, difficult cases.
While Florida Statues require certain Guardian Ad Litems qualifications, a parent should ask questions about the Guardian Ad Litem qualifications to ensure they are a good fit for their family. Often times a Guardian Ad Litems own life experience assist them in their investigation or evaluation of the circumstances in the child’s life. This life experience might be as important in the evaluation as the Guardians formal qualifications required by Statue. Boca Raton divorce attorney Matthew D. Martin can evaluate your timesharing case and determine if a Guardian Ad Litem is appropriate. He will address the Guardian Ad Litem qualifications to ensure the appointment of the Guardian is appropriate and, if not to advocate for his clients about why the Guardian may not be qualified.