Posted on: 8 September 2015
If you are in the midst of a custody battle with your former spouse, you probably have been assigned a guardian ad litem, or GAL, to represent the interests of the children. If you disagree with the GAL's investigation, findings, and recommendation, you can request an appeal. You may also be able to sue him or her, but there are some definitive issues in doing so.
Conflict of Interest
Despite your disagreements with the GAL and your desire to pursue civil litigation against him or her, there is one major problem. It becomes a conflict of interest to sue your children's lawyer since you are required to pay the GAL something for his or her services. Even though the GAL is not representing you directly, he or she is still involved with your family's hearing. While it is not impossible to sue the GAL, it may be very difficult while he or she is involved in an open custody case with you and your ex.
If you pursue a lawsuit against the GAL, and it is allowed in your state, the GAL may have to recuse him- or herself from your custody case. This may result in another GAL appointed to your family, which could ultimately mean a much longer and more expensive custody battle than you had intended. This is because a new GAL will have to read through all of the old files and the GAL's notes on your current case pending and conduct his or her own investigation beyond what the previous GAL had already done.
Suing a GAL for malpractice is even more difficult unless you can prove that your children were maligned by the GAL's actions. If the GAL coerced them into stating untrue things, touched the children inappropriately, or made your children spend more time with an abusive parent, which resulted in your child's hospitalization or the need for inpatient mental health services, you can sue for malpractice. Your proof must be admissible in court beyond a shadow of a doubt and you cannot pursue a separate civil litigation case if you pursue a malpractice suit. The malpractice suit would cover all of the restitution you seek. Be very careful about this type of lawsuit, as it could make you look like a vengeful parent.
For additional reading and more information, speak with a lawyer in your area who is knowledgeable about civil litigation.Share