You are here:Home > Court Rules > Rule 35

Rule 35: Guardian Ad Litem



(A) When Appointed. Whenever the Court finds that it is necessary to appoint a guardian ad litem and/or legal counsel to protect the interest of a child or whenever the Court is required to do so by statute, it shall join the child as a party defendant and appoint a guardian ad litem and/or legal counsel pursuant to Section (C) herein.

(B) Qualifications. Guardians ad litem shall have the following qualifications:

  1. Possession of a law degree or graduate degree in psychology, psychiatry or social work.
  2. Possession of a Certificate of Good Standing from the appropriate board or other licensing body.
  3. Completion of twelve (12) hours of basic Court approved pre-service guardian ad litem training that complies with Sup. R. 48(E). 
  4. Completion of three (3) hours of Court approved continuing education annually that complies with Sup. R. 48(E).
  5. Maintenance of appropriate malpractice insurance. 

Individuals who meet these criteria and desire to be placed on the Court’s guardian ad litem list must submit an application to the Administrative Judge or his or her designee for approval.  All individuals on the list shall certify annually that they are unaware of any circumstances that would disqualify them from serving and shall report the training they have attended to comply with this rule.  Any individual approved for inclusion in the list shall immediately notify, in writing, the Administrative Judge or his or her designee of any arrest, indictment or conviction, including pleas of guilty, for any criminal offense involving any action that resulted in a child being abused or neglected, or of violation of O.R.C. 2919.25, or any sexually oriented offense involving a child; and shall immediately report all civil cases in which the individual is a named party, and any pending professional disciplinary actions.  Any individual approved for inclusion in the list shall immediately notify, in writing, the Administrative Judge or his or her designee if the individual was named as a respondent in an action for a civil protection order or was charged with domestic violence in any Court.

(C) How Appointed. The Administrative Judge or his or her designee shall maintain a list of qualified guardians ad litem. Such lists are public information pursuant to Sup. R. 48(G)(1).

When the assigned Judge wishes to appoint an Attorney or other qualified individual as a guardian ad litem, the request shall be forwarded to the Administrative Judge or his or her designee who shall identify the next qualified individual from the appropriate list to the assigned Judge for appointment as the guardian ad litem. Should the assigned Judge reject such selection, he or she shall return the request to the Administrative Judge or his or her designee who shall identify the next qualified individual from the appropriate list to the assigned Judge for appointment as the guardian ad litem. The second identification of a guardian ad litem may not be rejected by the assigned judge.

Where it is determined that unique circumstances exist, the assigned Judge may appoint any individual from the qualified guardian ad litem list. Notice of such selection shall be sent to the Administrative Judge or his or her designee.

(D) Removal. A guardian ad litem may be removed from the appointment list established herein for the following reasons: 

  1. Refusal of three (3) cases in any 12-month period without just cause. 
  2. Failure to meet the qualifications and/or responsibilities established in paragraphs (B) and (H) herein.
  3. In the interest of justice and for good cause shown.

(E) Compensation. Guardians ad litem shall be compensated at the rate of $150.00 per hour for all reasonable and necessary time expended.

At the time of the guardian ad litem’s appointment, the Court shall order one or both of the parties to post a cash bond with the Clerk of Court, which bond shall not be less than $1,500.00. In the event the Court determines that the parties are unable to post such a bond, the Court may issue an order waiving or modifying this requirement. The bond shall be held as security for partial payment of the guardian ad litem fees.

Upon motion for guardian ad litem fees, the Court shall conduct a hearing to determine if the fee sought by the guardian ad litem is reasonable and necessary.  The Court may presume that each party will contribute equally to the fee for the guardian ad litem. That presumption may be rebutted by good cause. Any order for fees shall include a direction to the Clerk of Courts to release the bond to the guardian ad litem.

(F) Periodic Review. The Administrative Judge or his or her designee shall annually review the Court’s compliance with Sup. R. 48(G).

(G) Conflicts. Where appropriate at the time of appointment, the Court may also appoint the guardian ad litem to be the child’s legal counsel. In the event that a conflict arises, the guardian ad litem shall immediately comply with Sup. R. 48(D)(8 and 10), so that the Court may promptly resolve the conflict by entering appropriate orders.

(H) Responsibilities. At a minimum, the guardian ad litem shall: 

  1. Interview each parent separately. 
  2. Interview, where appropriate, the child or children separately. 
  3. Observe the child or children in the presence of each parent. 
  4. Contact the child’s school, if any. 
  5. Contact the child’s health care providers, if appropriate. 
  6. Meet with any evaluator assigned to the case. 
  7. Appear and participate in all pretrials and any hearing for which the duties of the guardian ad litem or any issues substantially within a guardian ad litem’s duties and scope or appointment are to be addressed. 
  8. Submit monthly itemized fee statements to the parties. 
  9. Prepare a written and final report that complies with the requirements of Sup. R. 48(F), file it with the Court and make it available to the parties seven (7) days before the dispositional hearing. 
  10. Comply with all other provision of Sup. R. 48, as amended, effective March 1, 2009. Back to Court Rules

(Effective March 1, 1994.  Amended effective September 1, 1998; November 20, 2000; January 1, 2003; August 1, 2005; July 1, 2009; December 1, 2015.)

Back to Court Rules