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Who can be a guardian ad litem?

Anyone who has ever been involved in a child custody dispute or other family law matter in Arkansas probably understands that emotions can run high in these situations. In some cases, it can be difficult for people to see past their emotions in order to make decisions in the best interest of their child. In these cases, the court may find it necessary to appoint a guardian ad litem to the case.

As a previous post mentioned, a guardian ad litem is responsible for promoting the child’s interests to the court in these contentious family law matters. A guardian ad litem will help to investigate the situation and report the child’s wishes to the court.

However, not just anyone can become a guardian ad litem. There are specific qualifications that must be met in order for a person to be appointed a guardian ad litem. Specifically, a person must be at least 25-years-old and must also have a high school diploma, or its equivalent, in order to be qualified.

The guardian ad litem must also undergo specific training before being appointed to a case. This includes observation of other custody cases. It also includes at least nine hours of continuing education related to child custody cases and an additional three hours of education on family law procedure. Each year, a guardian ad litem must complete at least six hours of continuing education in these areas.

A guardian ad litem must also be independent and neutral in the case. Therefore, the person must employ impartiality, fairness and be open-minded. The person may not have represented any party in the case at any time.

It is important for parents in Arkansas to understand the role of a guardian ad litem in a child custody case. Guardianship issues can be complex and people need to understand why a guardian is being used in a particular situation.


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