Guardian ad litems

What Is a GAL?

Guardian ad litems (GAL) are attorneys that represent the best interest of children in court. They have received special training in child development, as well as legal issues of children in court situations. They have the same authority in a court case as any other attorney in that same matter. A judge or court commissioner must appoint an attorney to serve as a guardian ad litem in a case. In family cases, the process and duties of a guardian ad litem are specified in Wis. Statute 767.407.

Additional information on Guardian ad litems can be found here: Guardian ad litems in Wisconsin

Portage County has local Court Rules regarding the appointment of an attorney to act as a Guardian ad litem in a family case. This specific local court rule can be found here: Local Court Rules GAL in Family cases

Do I Need to Have a GAL?

If you are a party in a case you should speak to your attorney before requesting a judge or court commissioner to appoint an attorney to act as Guardian ad litem in your case. If the judge or court commissioner does appoint a GAL for your case you will be required to pay for the services of that Guardian ad litem. A total deposit of $2000 is required to begin. The court may divide that deposit equally between the parties or may waive part of the deposit (upon a finding of indigency or partial indigency). Normally you will be required to repay any deposit that might have been waived by the court and any other payment that the county may make on your behalf. Your attorney, the judge, or the court commissioner will tell you more about this process if a guardian ad litem is appointed to serve in your case.

If the parties are requesting a reduction in the Guardian ad Litem deposit, it is necessary for the parties to complete the form below and provide ALL of the attachments as requested on the bottom of the first page of the Financial Disclosure form.

Financial Disclosure for Appointment of GAL form

Poverty Guidelines for Earnings Chart updated through June 30, 2021. Used by the Family Court Commissioner for determination of reduction of GAL deposit.

If you are a party that owes Portage County for the services of a guardian ad litem for work done previously, please call the Clerk of Courts office at 715-346-1364 to make payment arrangements.

Portage County will use all available methods to recoup payments owed. If you currently owe for a guardian ad litem that has served on your case and are considering asking to have a guardian ad litem appointed again, please note: a guardian ad litem will not be re-appointed until all past due payments are made, (or a judge orders otherwise).

Attorney Forms for Appointed GAL

For attorneys serving as a guardian ad litem in a family case in Portage County, you are required to use one of the following forms to receive payment for your services. The following forms have been updated to the 3-inch top margin e-filing requirement.

If you have questions about these forms feel free to call the Clerk of Courts office and speak to the family law clerk.