Deborah S.F. Poindexter, Esquire, has been accepting private and court appointments as a Guardian Ad Litem since 2004.
Florida Statutes §61.403 authorize courts to appoint a Guardian Ad Litem to act as next friend of a child, investigator or evaluator when a court finds it to be in the best interests of a minor child to do so. A Guardian Ad Litem does not act as an attorney, but as an advocate for the child and not for the parents. A Guardian Ad Litem acts in the child’s best interest and provides a voice for the child who might otherwise not be heard. A Guardian Ad Litem can be requested by either or both parents. In addition, the Court may also appoint a Guardian Ad Litem on its own.
After receiving an appointment in a case, matters related to the child are independently investigated. When possible, communication with both parents in a case, as well as other important witnesses such as friends, relatives, school officials and teachers, community members, medical professionals, mental health providers as well as religious leaders are conducted.
It is the duty of a Guardian Ad Litem to carefully consider factors contained in Florida Statutes §61.13(3) in order to determine what is in the best interests of the child before filing a Report and Recommendation and/or providing testimony in court for final consideration by a judge or magistrate. Typically, a court places a tremendous amount of weight in the Report and Recommendations of a Guardian Ad Litem.
In private cases, the Guardian Ad Litem fees are paid for by the parties as ordered by the court prior to the Guardian Ad Litem beginning any work. Parties are billed at an hourly rate and if depleted, retainer must be replenished if additional work is necessary.
The Guardian Ad Litem fee schedule has been developed as a “sliding scale” based on the parties’ combined incomes.
If you are in need of a Guardian Ad Litem in your case, please call the office at 407-478.1001 or you may send an email to Paralegal@PoindexterLaw.com in order to discuss the fee schedule.
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