Would You Like to Serve As a GAL?
General Description: Put Something Back Pro Bono Project (“PSB”) in Miami, FL recruits, trains and mentors volunteer attorneys to serve as pro bono Guardians Ad Litem (GALs) in Family Law, Domestic Violence, Probate and other cases. The Courts appoint pro bono GALs in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit to act in the child’s best interest, not to act as their attorney or advocate, but to act as next friend of the child, investigator or evaluator, in cases where the parties are unable to afford a private GAL and custody/visitation may be at issue. Ultimately, the goal of the Court in requesting a pro bono GAL from PSB is to foster and maximize a minor child’s wellbeing. The purpose of the GAL therefore, is to investigate and report so that the Court may make a well-informed decision. The GAL is not the child’s attorney, but rather a vehicle that allows the Court to make the best possible decision, in favor of the best interests of the minor child.
What to Expect: Primary tasks in GAL cases include preparing a written report for the Court, interviewing all relevant parties including but not limited to doctors, mental health professionals, witnesses and the child, reviewing relevant documentation and on some occasions visiting the parties’ homes in order to investigate and report to the Court as to the child’s best interests.
Time Commitment: The duration and time expended by a volunteer GAL depends on the allegations, the circumstances of the parties and the number of interviewees in addition to other factors. In a case where the condition of the parties’ homes is not an issue, the GAL may not have to make a home visit. In addition, with the increase in popularity of remote hearings, a pro bono GAL may be able to attend all hearings virtually. GAL cases may take between 10 to 50 hours, though this is a rough estimate as every case is unique.
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