Over the past years, Guardians ad Litem have taken on an ever increasing role in the South Carolina Court System. When an infant, minor, child, or otherwise incapacitated person can’t represent themselves, the court will usually appoint a “Guardian ad Litem”, or “guardian of the suit” to represent the child or persons best interests and help preserve their rights and well-being for a specified duration of time. South Carolina Family Courts often appoint Guardians ad Litem in cases including Divorce with Child Custody, Adoption, Child Support, and Emancipation.
A Guardian ad Litem works for the Court, on behalf of the “ward” for a certain duration of time, which is usually confined to the pendency of litigation. Guardians Ad Litem are not to be confused with a “Guardian of the person”, who has custody or takes care of the child or person.
Guardians ad Litem must be appointed by a Judge and their duties, and responsibilities are outlined and regulated by state or local law. In the South Carolina Family Court S.C. § Code Ann. 63-3-810-70 discuss the role that private Guardians ad Litem have in cases which custody or visitation of a minor child is an issue. In some cases, the Guardian Ad Litem is an attorney, and in other cases a “layperson”. In most cases, they are trained and already have experience.
As part of their responsibilities, Guardians ad Litem perform independent investigations and often times, based on these investigations, make recommendations to the Court regarding the best interest of the child or person. During their investigation Guardians ad Litem may talk to the minor child, their parents, friends, school teachers, law enforcement and/or care-givers.
They may visit the home or school of the child, and request the child’s school and medical records.
At Fender Law Firm, we have extensive experience, both in serving as Guardian Ad Litem, and working with clients on cases in which a Guardian Ad Litem has been appointed.
For more information, please contact Fender Law Firm directly or call us at: 843.379.4888