Payne & Associates, PLLC

The Guardian ad Litem program has been in place in North Carolina since 1983. Guardians are trained volunteers with diverse backgrounds who advocate for children. A judge will assign a Guardian ad Litem to a case when the Department of Social Services files abuse or neglect allegations or if one or both parties request one when custody is highly contested.

What does a Guardian do?

The assigned Guardian will visit with children, conduct interviews, review and analyze reports, monitor court orders, communicate with service providers and make recommendations centered on the child. Guardians will also testify in court. 

Is the Guardian a social worker?

No. A social worker represents the Department of Social Services. The Guardian's sole focus is the child and he or she will advocate for resources and community services if needed. The Guardian's recommendations to the court advocate for the child.

Will I need a Guardian in my divorce case?

Not all cases require a Guardian ad Litem. However, if you are concerned about your child spending time with the other parent or there is domestic abuse involved a judge may appoint one. The judge may also appoint a Guardian if custody is highly contested. In that instance, the Guardian would interview the parents, grandparents, teachers, the child, etc., to make a custody recommendation based on the best interests of the child.

Can a Guardian be requested ?

Yes. One party can file a motion to the court asking the judge to appoint a Guardian. A Guardian can be a useful resource with custody and visitation decisions. If both parties agree, they can make a request to have one appointed.

Divorce is stressful when custody is highly contested, whether abuse is a factor or not. Speaking with an attorney who is experienced in family law will make the process less difficult and answer any additional questions you have about the program and whether a Guardian will be beneficial to your case.

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Payne & Associates, PLLC
206 North Spruce Street, Suite 1B
Winston Salem, NC 27101

Phone: 336-283-2937
Fax: 336-217-8784
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