Frequently Asked Questions
No. While the term Guardian ad Litem is used in many types of cases, it does not necessarily mean that a GAL is from our program. We train and support GALs primarily for CHINS and delinquency cases, and if a GAL is assigned in any other type of case (such as a probate case or domestic proceeding) that GAL may or may not be from our program.
While a GAL can be an attorney by profession, when she or he is serving as a GAL he or she is not an attorney for that child or for the case. The child will be assigned an attorney who will be responsible for making all legal arguments throughout a case.
GALs that are trained and supported by this program are volunteers and are not paid for the extensive work they do. However, GALs are reimbursed for mileage (at the state rate) and for expenses directly related to their assignments.
Absolutely. Our volunteers include many people who also have a full time job. However, please note that hearings are held during regular business hours which mean you should clear this with your employer prior to becoming a GAL. The program can verify your volunteer hours if your employer sponsors a community service program. You will also want to make sure to maintain a caseload that works for you and your employer.
If you believe a GAL is not meeting his or her responsibilities please contact the central office at (802) 828-0625 or JUD.VermontGAL@vermont.gov. We will most likely forward the complaint to the appropriate coordinator, but may respond directly depending on the issue. Please keep in mind that we do not assign or remove GALs, except in extreme cases and that disagreeing with or disliking a GAL is not misconduct.
Court Diversion is a local community justice program that diverts some offenders, typically with minor charges, out of the court system. Upon successful completion of the program, the state’s attorney dismisses the case. If an offender does not complete the program, the matter is returned to court for prosecution. Click here for more information about the Court Diversion process.
Pre-Trial Hearing: This is a hearing to keep the judge informed of all issues to be resolved, including whether there will be an admission or denial of the allegations in the petition. The judge may proceed directly to the Merits stage.