Q: When is a guardian at litem assigned to a custody case? Can I do mediation outside of court without a GAL?
Paternity has not yet been established but if he is found to be the father, he has also filed for custody and visitation. He has stated that he would like to do mediation. I would like to do mediation but outside of court with the other parent and a lawyer. Would a GAL be appointed in this situation? Even if both parents are in agreement? If not, when would a GAL be required?
In a legal proceeding involving custody and/or visitation, a guardian ad litem can be appointed by the court to represent the interests of the child in the event that the parents do not adequately represent the interests of the child. This almost always occurs when there are allegations of abuse or neglect, or a child in need of social services. Typically, the appointment is entered by the court upon the request of either parent, or an interested party.
Mediation is ordered in almost every custody or visitation proceeding in Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, at a relatively low cost to the parties.
Any person interested in a custody or visitation proceeding in Virginia should consult with an experienced Virginia family law lawyer.
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