A GAL has two roles: (1) to be an objective fact finder for the court, and (2) to represent the child's voice. Often courts appoint a GAL when the parents are in such high conflict that the court worries that the heated testimony will make it impossible for the court to get to the truth, or the court worries that the parents' have so much combat between them that one or both of them is not thinking well enough of the children's interest, and so the court needs the child's interests and wants to be before the court through the GAL. The courts almost always appoint a GAL if there are signs of domestic violence or abuse.
The cost of the GAL is split by the percentage of income each parent's income is to their total income. If the parents are low income and abuse is at issue, the county will pay some portion of the GAL appointment. Some attorneys resist appointment of a GAL as they wish to manipulate what the "child wants" without any actual input from the child, but cost is the only reason not to have one appointed in a high conflict case.
Here at Mason Law, Attorney Craig Mason of Spokane, WA, is very accustomed to the process involved in appointing a GAL and following up on their work for settlement or trial. For more information call 509.443.3681 or to www.spokaneinjuryanddivorcelaw.com