Pennsylvania Statutes Title 23 Pa.C.S.A. Domestic Relations § 5334. Guardian ad litem for child

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(a) Appointment.--The court may on its own motion or the motion of a party appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the child in the action.  The court may assess the cost upon the parties or any of them or as otherwise provided by law.  The guardian ad litem must be an attorney at law.

(b) Powers and duties.--The guardian ad litem shall be charged with representation of the legal interests and the best interests of the child during the proceedings and shall do all of the following:

(1) If appropriate to the child's age and maturity, meet with the child as soon as possible following the appointment and on a regular basis thereafter.

(2) On a timely basis, be given access to relevant court records, reports of examination of the parents or other custodian of the child and medical, psychological and school records.

(3) Participate in all proceedings.

(4) Conduct such further investigation necessary to ascertain relevant facts for presentation to the court.

(5) Interview potential witnesses, including the child's parents and caretakers, if any.  The guardian ad litem may examine and cross-examine witnesses and present witnesses and evidence necessary to protect the best interests of the child.

(6) Make specific recommendations in a written report to the court relating to the best interests of the child, including any services necessary to address the child's needs and safety.  The court shall make the written report part of the record so that it may be reviewed by the parties.  The parties may file with the court written comments regarding the contents of the report.  The comments filed by the parties shall also become part of the record.

(7) Explain the proceedings to the child to the extent appropriate given the child's age, mental condition and emotional condition.

(8) Advise the court of the child's wishes to the extent that they can be ascertained and present to the court whatever evidence exists to support the child's wishes.  When appropriate because of the age or mental and emotional condition of the child, determine to the fullest extent possible the wishes of the child and communicate this information to the court.  A difference between the child's wishes under this paragraph and the recommendations under paragraph (6) shall not be considered a conflict of interest for the guardian ad litem.

(c) Abuse.--If substantial allegations of abuse of the child are made, the court shall appoint a guardian ad litem for the child if:

(1) counsel for the child is not appointed under section 5335 (relating to counsel for child);  or

(2) the court is satisfied that the relevant information will be presented to the court only with such appointment.

(d) Evidence subject to examination.--A guardian ad litem may not testify except as authorized by Rule 3.7 of the Rules of Professional Conduct , but may make legal argument based on relevant evidence that shall be subject to examination by the parties.

(e) Costs.--The court may order a party to pay all or part of the costs of appointing a guardian ad litem under this section.

Cite this article: FindLaw.com - Pennsylvania Statutes Title 23 Pa.C.S.A. Domestic Relations § 5334. Guardian ad litem for child - last updated January 01, 2019 | https://codes.findlaw.com/pa/title-23-pacsa-domestic-relations/pa-csa-sect-23-5334.html


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