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  1. #1
    iamintexas Guest

    Question Attorney ad Litem VS Guardian ad Litem?

    What is the name of your state? Texas

    What are the differences between an Attorney ad Litem and a Guardian ad Litem? When would one be appointed over another? In what kinds of cases? I understand that a Attorney ad Litem is a new thing, as of September 1, 2003. However, the Texas Family Code is fairly vague when it covers the usage of both (or maybe I am just not legal enough to understand it). Could you explain in English?

    I currently have a case where an Attorney ad Litem was appointed. Both parties are assigned as Joint Managing Conservators, with me retaining the primary residence of the child. Other parent has supervised visitation that sadly he does not utilize and he has not in seen the child in over one year (No clue as to where he is even residing nor do I have a phone number for him). Nor does he pay his ordered child/medical support each month as he should (he pays sporadically, when he wants and how much he wants, even with an income withholding. His employer does not seem to want to cooperate.) Our child is now two. Neither party has representation. I am going at this pro se. I filed a Motion for Contempt/Show Cause for my ex's failure to pay support and many other issues that I feel that he is in contempt of. He has already been placed on a Suspended Sentence of a Contempt Conviction six months ago for non-payment of child support, so he should be facing jail time this go around. At our last hearing, my ex falsely claimed that I was denying him his visitation with the child. I stated that I had proof (witnesses and other specific evidence from the supervised visitation site) that I was not in violation. (Bit of past info here - my ex has tried to give up his parental rights once before. Judge refused, as I am not married and no one to adopt. Ex has shown no interest in our child, only seen our child 5 times in her whole life. Yet, he enjoys dragging me through the legal system. I left him because of domestic violence yes, documented. But, this is his way to continue to annoy me because I left him. Yes, I do freely go to counseling and my ex was ordered to attend anger managment - that he will not attend. Nor the parenting classes.)

    Anyway, I am confused as to why at the last hearing, the Judge would go ahead and assign an Attorney ad Litem (She initially stated that she would assign a Guardian ad Litem that day in court to represent the child). I am a great parent. Steady job, good child care, I support my child wonderfully. There is no issues of custody as my ex does not want our child anyway. So, why would one be assigned? And do I have to be the one to pay for the Attorney, as my ex claimes that he is indignt and cannot afford to pay (lie, lie, lie)?

    And my further confusion stems from the fact that when I researched the specific Attorney assigned, I find that he is board certified in Criminal Law. Not Family law. What gives?!?!?
  2. #2
    iamintexas Guest
    Also found out that there is something called an Amicus Attorney. What in the world is this???
  3. #3
    HomeGuru is offline Senior Member
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    And then there is also the Abacus Attorney.
  4. #4
    Boxcarbill Guest
    In a nutshell. A guardian ad litem represents the child's wishes. An attorney ad litem represents the best interest of the child which may or may not coincide with the child's wishes. Lots of courts appoint an attorney as attorney ad litem and guardian ad litem. This, of course, ignores the possible conflicts of such dual capacity.

    An amicus attorney is a "friend" of the court--i.e. the attorney is usually not representing either party to the litigation but is attempting to guide/influence the court's decision.
  5. #5
    iamintexas Guest
    That is actually opposite of what I have found on the internet. On Travis County's Domestic Relations Website it states:

    QUOTE: "Q: What is the difference between a Guardian Ad Litem and an Attorney Ad Litem?

    A Guardian Ad Litem in Travis County is not an attorney. The Guardian Ad Litem focuses on the child's best interests in making recommendations to the Court, even if that is not what the child says he or she wants. The Guardian Ad Litem may complete written reports for the Court and testify in Court. An Attorney Ad Litem is appointed by the Court to represent the child's best interests and wishes. However, if the child's best interests are different from the child's wishes, the Attorney Ad Litem will represent the child's wishes. A Guardian Ad Litem may ask the Court to appoint an Attorney Ad Litem to a case under special circumstances." ------ UNQUOTE


    So, if my child is age 3 and unable to communicate with the AAL, how would the AAL know what the best wishes/interests of the child be?

    And why on the court paperwork does it NOW list my child and the AAL under my name as Plantiff/Petitioner?
  6. #6
    Boxcarbill Guest
    Originally posted by iamintexas
    That is actually opposite of what I have found on the internet. On Travis County's Domestic Relations Website it states:

    QUOTE: "Q: What is the difference between a Guardian Ad Litem and an Attorney Ad Litem?

    A Guardian Ad Litem in Travis County is not an attorney. The Guardian Ad Litem focuses on the child's best interests in making recommendations to the Court, even if that is not what the child says he or she wants. The Guardian Ad Litem may complete written reports for the Court and testify in Court. An Attorney Ad Litem is appointed by the Court to represent the child's best interests and wishes. However, if the child's best interests are different from the child's wishes, the Attorney Ad Litem will represent the child's wishes. A Guardian Ad Litem may ask the Court to appoint an Attorney Ad Litem to a case under special circumstances." ------ UNQUOTE


    So, if my child is age 3 and unable to communicate with the AAL, how would the AAL know what the best wishes/interests of the child be?

    And why on the court paperwork does it NOW list my child and the AAL under my name as Plantiff/Petitioner?
    Well gee, maybe you should ask the Travis County's Domestic Relations Website these additional question. I myself I'm just licensed by the Texas Supreme court to practice law in this state and since I don't know the difference between an attorney ad litem and guardian ad litem, I really wouldn't want to hazard a guess as to how a licensed attorney would decide the best interest of the child and I certainly wouldn't know why a licensed attorney would have to be used to tell the court what someone wanted--including a three year old. Seems that anyone with even an elementary education and who could speak could perform that function.
  7. #7
    iamintexas Guest

    Angry

    You know, Mr. Bill, there was no reason for you to be a ****. I only asked, because I was under the impression that someone on these boards might have experience with this sort of thing. Gee, I'm here with only a Master's and a P.A.-C. We don't speak legalease where I come from. And unfortunately that elementary education that you so foundly speak of was years ago for me. And no, I cannot possibly think for the life of me why a Judge would appoint an AAL to a case where the NCP has spent ample time in jail for non-support, disrespecting a Judge, failure to follow even the simplest "elementary" orders. I have had the child since birth, primary and only parent. Father hasn't seen her in a year.

    So, yes, I am asking why an AAL was assigned, and what they do. That's all. (And my child is special needs, so I seriously doubt that she will be able to communicate her needs with anyone anytime soon. Even on an "elementary" level.)

    If my question of needing advice offended you, then I most sincerely appologize. And I am not in Travis County - It just happened to be the only thing I could find on the internet in regards to GAL/AAL in the state of Texas, as the Texas Family Code reads like stereo instructions. Apparently, no lawyer I have checked with even knows for sure what an AAL does. I hope the AAL assigned to my case does!

    So, thanks for insulting me when all I did was come here for advice. I was told that you were the best forum around and that you didn't make a habit of running people off. Well, I guess I heard wrong. Thanks for making me and my honest question feel lower than dirt. But I guess you feel that those without a law degree should all feel like that. Sorry to tread on your private slice of the web.
  8. #8
    Boxcarbill Guest
    (1) I resent the hell out of people asking a question and then after I answer it, they tell me. "I checked it out on some Internet website and they disagree with what you said." My response is: Do the damn research before you ask the question OR (2) have the common courtesy to keep your mouth shut after the question has been answered and you find a conflict in the answer OR be prepared for a reply which may not be, "Ah geez, I was wrong and they are right."

    (2) I came to this site in December 2002 just like everyone else. I didn't create the website. I'm not paid for giving advice on this website. I don't get free Internet connection for giving advice here. It makes me ZERO difference who stays and who goes. I'm just passing through like everyone else.

    (3) Frankly my dear I don't give a damn whether you are in Travis, Harris, Hale, Hockley, El Paso, Midland or any other county. It is irrelevant. Same Texas Family Code applies regardless of county in Texas.

    (4) Nor do I give a big rat's azz whether you have a BA, BS, MA, PhD, JD, MD or all the decrees. You asked a legal question and after telling me that an Internet website said just the opposite from what I said, I suggested that you ask that same site your additional questions. I stand by my statement. Ask the website, or anyone else your legal questions because I sure as hell have no intention of answering any more of your questions.
  9. #9
    iamintexas Guest
    You know why God invented Lawyers? To keep us from blaming everything on Satan.
  10. #10
    Boxcarbill Guest
    Originally posted by iamintexas
    You know why God invented Lawyers? To keep us from blaming everything on Satan.
    Ah, you are 7 days late. See the below post and my response to it on September 19. (The Bob and Tom show is a real hoot!)

    ili
    Junior Member

    Registered: Sep 2002
    Location: Tennessee
    Posts: 12
    grandparent's rights
    What is the name of your state? Tennessee
    My daughter and son-in-law have been denied access to their
    grandson. He is a loving 4 yr. old who is very confused I'm sure
    as to why he isn't seeing his grandparents or great-grandparents.
    His dad has custody and we have helped him in any way we could
    with money, tools, etc. Maybe we have done too much. Thru an
    attorney they are going to be able to see him once a week. Any
    similar experiences? Perhaps his newest wife is jealous of the
    relationship they had (a close family) or perhaps its an attack from
    satan. These are hard times. Will we ever get a relationship back
    with this grandson? Maybe when the drama and any chance to
    get property are gone this woman will be gone? That's what
    people tell us.


    __________________
    ili



    09-19-2003 04:56 PM



    Boxcarbill
    Senior Member

    Registered: Dec 2002
    Location: Texas
    Posts: 2072
    "Maybe when the drama and any chance to get property are gone this woman will be gone? That's what people tell us."

    So long as this attitude persists against your grandson's wife, the relationships will only continue the downward spiral. [Don't lay this on the devil. God created lawyers so that people wouldn't blame the devil for everything.]

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