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When children are involved in court cases, it may be necessary for someone to represent the child's needs or 'best interests'. Either a Judge may appoint a person to look out for their best interest or the parties can choose to hire someone to represent the best interest of the child for things like custody, divorce, paternity, guardianships or adoptions. These specially trained people are called Guardian ad Litem (or GAL). A GAL acts as the eyes and ears for the Court so that the GAL can report back to the court as to what is in the best interest of the children.
The GAL's investigation can include the interviewing of people, home visits, review of important documentation and speaking with the child. The GAL will report back to the Court (as well as the parties) and provide recommendations about things such as custody, parenting time, therapy, education or other services such as mental health or substance use evaluations. The GAL's recommendations are all based in the best interest of the child. The GAL's recommendations are typically provided to the court through a Report along with the GAL's testimony.
In addition to being a Family Law Attorney, Marsha Hackenberg is a trained and experienced Guardian ad Litem. She provides her services through the Hamilton County Guardian ad Litem Program and Privately.