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Guardian Ad Litem Fees

Guardian Ad Litem Fees

Guardians Ad Litem (GAL) usually are attorneys appointed by the court to help determine what custody arrangement would be in the best interests of the child or children involved in the matter.

Just like other professionals appointed or retained to aid the parties to a divorce proceeding or other domestic relations action, a Guardians Ad Litem often charges a fee for their services. As most Guardians Ad Litem are attorneys, many tend to bill their regular hourly fee as compensation for their services as a Guardian Ad Litem. Additionally, Guardians may also require the parties to the divorce or child custody action to pay a retainer to secure their services. Although it is within the court's discretion to appoint the GAL, courts generally allow Guardians to set their hourly fee based on their experience. See Uniform Superior Court Rule 24.9(8). Thus, the specific hourly fees and retainers required by Georgia Guardians Ad Litem vary. Depending on the Guardian's experience, relative expertise, and the number of years he or she has been serving as a GAL, Guardian fees generally begin around $200.00 per hour and increase according to experience.

Once a GAL has been selected to assist in a matter, the parties may agree between themselves concerning how to apportion the GAL fees. If they can not agree, the judge may issue an order that determines how the costs should be divided between the parties. Although typically, the parties split the fees, the court is free to do what they believe is best under the circumstances. For example, suppose there is an extreme income disparity between the parties. In that case, the court may order the party with more financial resources to pay the full amount (or nearly the total amount) of the Guardian Ad Litem fees.

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