Will a guardian ad litem be appointed?
When the legal custody or physical placement of a child is contested, or if there is reason for special concern regarding the welfare of the child, the court appoints a guardian ad litem (GAL) for the child. A GAL’s responsibility is to represent the best interests of the child (which may be different than the wishes of the child). A GAL must be a licensed attorney in the State of Wisconsin, who meets the GAL special training requirements, unless waived by the Court. The GAL will gather information, participate in negotiations, and make a recommendation to the court regarding legal custody and placement. Often, the GAL’s recommendation is adopted by the Court. The court will order who pays for the GAL’s fees, though they are often shared equally by the parties.