What is a GAL?
GAL stands for Guardian ad Litem. In Illinois, a GAL is an attorney that represents the best interests of a child.
What does a GAL do?
The GAL investigates the case and gives a recommendation, based on the child’s best interests, to the court, either orally or written depending on the complexity of the case and the court’s preferences.
What types of cases use a GAL?
Juvenile Abuse and Neglect cases always utilize a GAL. This GAL is appointed by the court and paid for by the county.
In more complex family/divorce/custody cases, GALs can be useful for deciphering the intricate details to determine the best interests of the children. Typically, GALs in these types of cases are paid for by the parties involved. Depending on the finances of the parties, one party may be ordered to pay the entire GAL fee.
Adoption cases also utilize a GAL.
How much does it cost?*
It depends on the type of case, the complexity of the case, the number of people involved, the agencies involved, etc.
In Juvenile Abuse and Neglect cases, the GAL is typically paid by the county and therefore no direct cost to the parties.
In family/divorce/custody cases, GAL fees can range from $300.00 – $10,000.00+.
In private adoption cases, GAL fees typically range from $250.00 – $2,000.00.
In DCFS adoptions, the GAL fee is covered by the state and therefore no direct cost to the parties adopting.
*These are estimates from Lindsey’s experience in Southern Illinois.