Guardian ad Litem (GAL)

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A Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) is an adult who is appointed by the court to represent the best interests of a child or an incapacitated person involved in a case in Superior Court.  Under the direction of the court, a GAL performs an investigation and prepares a report for the court of the GAL's findings and recommendations. 

To become a GAL, an individual must complete an approved training program, provide background information to the court in which the GAL wishes to serve, and meet all eligibility requirements set by local court rule or policy. 

A GAL is different from a Certified Professional Guardian (CPG).  A CPG is an individual or agency who serves as the legal guardian of at least three indifiduals and provides this service as a profession.  

The Yakima County Superior Court Facilitator maintains GAL registries under Title 26 (representing children in dissolutions, modifications, paternity, relocation and third party custody cases). Title 11 (alleged incapacitated persons), and minor settlements.

For representation of children in the foster care system, please see CASA Program on the Juvenile Court website. 

GALs do not act as lawyers, therapists, or parties in the case, and therefore do not provide legal advice, counseling, or diagnosis. 

 Private Pay Registry

 Under limited circumstances for those parties who qualify, the Court may appoint and pay for the GAL under Titles 26 or 11. For all other cases, parties pay the GAL the rate which the GAL established under the "private pay" registry. (Verify current hourly rates and retainers with individual GALs). 

Resources
  • Training Opportunities for GALs
  • Revised Code of Washington (RCWs)
  • Washington State Superior Court Guardian Ad Litem Rules
  • Yakima County Superior Court Local Rules
  • Yakima County GAL Registry Code of Conduct
  • Yakima County Guardian ad Litem Qualifications
  • Yakima County Guardian ad Litem Payment 
Guardian ad Litem Forms
Registry Applications
RCW 11.130 GAL- Court Visitor Registry Application 7.21.21