The 1996 Legislature made a number of changes regarding the appointment
of guardians ad litem in Titles 11, 13 and 26. In general, those
changes require that each court establish a registry of pre-approved guardians ad
litem for each category of case. This document contains the
Whatcom County Superior Court procedures adopted to implement those
changes. The following is a summary of the procedures:
- GUARDIANSHIP CASES ~ RCW
11.88.090 (3)(a), alleged incapacity, guardians ad litem will
be appointed from the registry of those individuals pre-approved
to serve in such cases. Appointments are to be recorded in the
order of appointment and referred to in order to ascertain the
next-eligible individual to be appointed.
Counsel and litigants may present fill-in-the-name orders appointing
a GAL to the court. The named GAL may decline to accept a case,
at which time the presenting party should submit a similar Amended
Order Appointing Guardian ad Litem.
- JUVENILE DEPENDENCY CASES ~
RCW 13.34.100, juvenile dependency, guardians ad litem will continue
to be appointed under the longstanding program of referral to pre-approved
contract guardians ad litem,making referrals to the current
- DOMESTIC RELATIONS CASES
~ RCW 26.12.175,domestic relations, guardians ad litem
will be appointed from the registry of those individuals pre-approved
to serve in such cases. In such domestic relations cases the parties
may stipulate to the appointment of one of the pre-approved guardians
ad litem, and are encouraged to do so. In the event that the parties
are not able or willing to so stipulate, one of the parties must,
in writing or via email, ask the Court Administrator/Commissioner
to issue a strike list of the next three eligible domestic relations
guardians ad litem. Each side may strike one of the three and the
unstricken, or first unstricken, proposed guardian ad litem will be
appointed. Counsel and litigants may present fill-in-the-name orders
appointing a GAL to the court. The named GAL may decline to accept
a case, at which time the presenting party should submit a similar
Amended Order Appointing Guardian ad Litem or request a new
strike list, as appropriate.
- GAL FEES: It is the parties'
responsibility to pay guardians ad litem in guardianship and
relations cases. In certain cases the county may be required
to pay for those services. In domestic relations cases, the
presumption is that the parties will equally share the cost
of the guardian ad
litem. In the event that one or both of the parties claims to
be indigent, he or she must complete a court Affidavit of Indigency .
The court will determine indigency. If an attorney represents
any party, he or she is presumed to be able to pay a GAL fee. That
presumption is rebuttable upon appropriate declaration of the
attorney or the party. Only if both parties are found to be
indigent and any presumption arising from the employment of counsel
is rebutted will the county pay the guardian ad litem fee. All
orders appointing GAL's should contain fee payment language. The
Order Appointing Guardian ad Litem containing the court approved
feee payment language may be downloaded in either MS Word or
PDF format .
ALL REQUESTS FOR GAL APPOINTMENTS are to be referred to Superior Court Administrator Dave Reynolds.
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