No conflict of interest for appointing the same GAL for children of divorce action and child in paternity action.
Trial court erroneously exercised it discretion where it does not refer to statutory factors, but was largely based on its belief that the temporary schedule was working and the recommendation of the GAL. The trial court cannot rely on GAL statements which are not in evidence.
(1) Appointment of GAL was mandatory where modification sought by father would substantial alter the amount of time he was spending with the children. (2) Order that father pay all GAL fees was appropriate where motion for modification involved a certain degree of abuse of the legal system.
Court cannot order an indigent party to pay GAL fees.
Trial court properly exercised its discretion in not permitting child to testify. Trial court has the discretion of determining how to inform itself of the child’s preference, including not permitting the child to testify if not in the child’s best interests to do so.
GAL has absolute quasi-judicial immunity from negligence liability for acts within the scope of that GAL’s exercise of his or her statutory responsibilities.
Section 767.045(4) alone regulates appointment of a GAL and describes scope of representation for minor. Child not entitled to adversary counsel.
Interviewing minor children without consent of the GAL violated prohibition from communicating with party known to be represented by counsel.
Both the legislature and the supreme court have authority to regulate GAL fees.
GAL’s statements at oral argument are not evidence and not part of the record.
GAL is advocate for best interest of a child and is not a witness at trial.
GAL is advocate for child’s best interests – not for child’s wishes.
State’s motive and role in commencement of paternity action does not make it the sole party in interest. A child has a strong interest in a determination on its paternity, although it may be contrary to the best interest of a child that its paternity be established. Thus, commencement of paternity action by GAL was appropriate.
GAL fees are not dischargeable under11 U.S.C. section 523(a)(5) as they are a support obligation.
It was error for court to fail to appoint a GAL sua sponte where issue of paternity was raised post-judgment by motion to reopen.
Guardian may seek divorce for incompetent.
Guardian of an incompetent adult has the power to pursue a dissolution action.
Legal guardian does not have the power to file a divorce action on behalf of an incapacitated ward.
GAL has absolute immunity from claims arising from alleged negligent performance of duties.
Children may not intervene in their parents’ divorce action with their own lawyer.