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What Does it Mean That the Guardian ad Litem Represents "the Best Interests of the Child"?


A GAL is appointed to represent the best interests of his/her ward. Although GALs in the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court are attorneys, representing a ward's best interests is different from an attorney representing the child client. 
A GAL is appointed to conduct an investigation, to come to a conclusion about what would be best for his/her ward, and to report his/her conclusion to the court.
Sometimes a child involved in a custody or visitation case, particularly an older child, may have strong feelings or wishes, which are different from what the GAL believes is truly best for the child. When that happens, a second lawyer may be appointed to represent  and advocate for the child's position to the court.