How to Complain about a GAL? - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-26-2009, 01:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hey Momma's! This was the only place I could think of to post this! Who would we contact or where would we go to report that the GAL that was appointed to us did not do her job whatsoever? The GAL issued her final recommendation based on lies. Which, if she would have asked us any about any of those false statements, we could have provided paperwork to show the other party was lying.

I have a copy of the report and have highlighted everything that I can disprove and have attached the proof. Rumor has it the GAL in question has been in trouble before for not doing a thorough enough investigation, all though that is only here-say.

My question is who do we contact or where do we go? How do I take this to someone else. I know nothing can change in our situation really, but I just feel like the least that could come of this (now that she has ruined our family) is to talk with her boss, or someone higher up about our experience so this doesn't happen again.

Kourtney, happily married to my soldier and raising ds 7/08 .... dd 7/10..... and ds 11/11

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Old 10-26-2009, 10:32 AM
 
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I have a feeling that every state may be different, but here in Colorado, GALs are supervised by the Office of the Child's Representative (OCR). My guess is that you could call your local judicial district and ask who the GAL's supervising body is, and take it from there.
And for what it's worth, I think that many GALs are often completely overloaded, not that that's an excuse. But when I worked with CASA, they often had over 100 cases, and there's just no way you can keep up with that many families. I wish that the system would take notice of this because it's the kids who ultimately suffer.
Good luck!

Mom to a beautiful girl (born 6/07), and one on the way (11/09), married to my sweetheart since 9/06
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Old 10-26-2009, 10:34 AM
 
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Is your GAL a lawyer? (I know in some states they all are, but it varies in others.) If so, the state bar might be a good place to start.

Otherwise, remember that you have the right to present your side in a court trial or appeal. If you don't have a lawyer, now might be a good time to get one.

Good luck.

ProtoLawyer (the now-actual lawyer, this isn't legal advice,  please don't take legal advice from some anonymous yahoo on the Internet)
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Old 10-26-2009, 11:56 PM
 
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That is something that I thought of after I posted... are you referring to GALs as in an advocate appointed (here in Colorado, we mostly call them CASAs--Court Appointed Special Advocates) to your case, or GALs as in an attorney for the best interest of the children? Because if your local judicial district utilizes un-paid volunteers as GALs (or what I know as CASAs), they ALL have a volunteer supervisor that you can address within the organization. If your GAL is an un-paid volunteer, please please let the organization know that they did not conduct an independent investigation and, therefore, did not do their job.

Mom to a beautiful girl (born 6/07), and one on the way (11/09), married to my sweetheart since 9/06
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Old 10-27-2009, 01:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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You know, I am not exactly sure which one it is. I know she was court appointed, and we had to pay an outrageous fee for her. I also know her husband is a family court judge *ugh* which is why I really feel she justifies not doing her job! Ughhhh!!

Kourtney, happily married to my soldier and raising ds 7/08 .... dd 7/10..... and ds 11/11

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Old 10-27-2009, 09:00 AM
 
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Either way, your court order to use her should state the name of the organization for which she works. That's where you start. Report her to her supervisor. I would suggest doing it in writing and including copies of the proof you mentioned.

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Old 10-27-2009, 01:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So here is the update post. Today I contacted the court house and spoke to two different people at two different times who gave me this same answer; they both said that the guardian who was assigned to our case is also the one who runs the guardian program in our court. Now, how can that be okay? Seriously. So they both told me there is no real way to complain since the "boss" is her. This just sounds weird to me, but I guess it explains her lack of an investigation considering she has no one to answer to.

Any of you momma's have any ideas who to contact or anything? Obviously, she's failing to return my phone calls and e-mails. So she is not interested in talking with us about her decision in our case. Obviously, the courts are not even sure what to do. Is there someone in charge by state? Isn't there someone who oversees everything? This is so frustrating!

Kourtney, happily married to my soldier and raising ds 7/08 .... dd 7/10..... and ds 11/11

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Old 10-30-2009, 12:37 PM
 
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According to the office of the Ohio State Supreme Court, any Ohio Court Administrator, Magistrate, Judge or Court Clerk is required to receive and act on a complaint about a GAL and that is the appropriate next step, after reporting a GAL to his/her own supervisor (which you are apparently unable to do, since she is the supervisor).

The court that actually heard the case would seem like the best place to report it. But if that's the court her husband presides over - or if you're concerned that your complaint will be dismissed because your judge has already decided to accept the GAL's report and base custody decisions on that - then you are apparently entitled to make your complaint to a different court.

Again, I would put things clearly in writing and include the proof you mentioned. I would also follow up, say in a week, and ask what has been done about your complaint.

I do think it's serious - not just for your family - when people who make such heart-wrenching decisions about other people's families are lax in doing their jobs or in backing up information given to them by obviously biased parties. Especially if her marriage to a family court judge lends her or her organization more legitimacy in the eyes of the court!

PPs have mentioned how hard GAL's jobs can be, how overloaded with cases. I know sometimes that's true. I also know there's a WORLD of difference between a GAL reporting honestly: "X said Y has been arrested 7 times for domestic violence but I did not attempt to/did not have time to verify that," and a GAL reporting: "Y has been arrested 7 times for domestic violence."
(That's just an example, of course - I don't know what your situation is).

Good luck.

One woman in a house full of men:  my soul mate:    or... twin sons:(HS seniors) ... step-son:  (a sophomore) ... our little man:   (a first grader) ... and there is another female in the house, after all:  our
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Old 11-14-2009, 12:15 AM
 
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I am a GAL in Ohio and also an attorney.

We have two separate GAL's types in Ohio. We have both the CASA trained GAL's, who are mostly volunteers. Most Courts are tending to shy away from these as we have new standards for GALs that came out a few years ago. While they are still used, they are not used as often as Attorneys who are trained as GAL's.

The second type of GAL is the Attorney/GAL. These are attorneys who have been trained. Depending upon when you became a GAL you either underwent the CASA training (which would have been prior to about 8 years ago), otherwise about 8 years ago the new regs that came out put Attorney/GAL's in a 12 hour or two day CLE for training. I believe every 3 years we have to do a some sort of short three hour CLE (this just recently changed as we used to be able to go and redo a portion of the GAL training CLE/course and remain certified, but that is no longer an option I guess).

Where I am at, it depends upon which Court you are being used by. If it is Juvenile Court, we are sort of "controlled" by the Court Administrator for purpose of monitoring our training and payment of our bills. I have not done it in Domestic Relations Yet, but generally they are part of the Family Relations program, and are mutually picked by the attorney and Magistrate/Judge on the case that one is being requested on. This is often times where you see more CASA type GAL's than you do in Juvenile.

I do not believe you can file a grievance with the State Bar if they are an attorney. You may want to contact the Supreme Court as there is currently an on-going commission on GAL's to update requirements and training. Someone working with/on/for that commission may be able to assist you in where to go to file a complaint/grievance.

Oh, you can also check to see if the individual is an attorney by going under the Attorney Registry on the Supreme Court's website and doing a search for her name.
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