10.7(II) Guardian ad Litem

I. Appointment of guardian ad litem

Pursuant to 750 ILCS 50/13 the Court will appoint a licensed attorney as guardian ad litem to represent a prospective adoptee and to act in his/her best interests.

The purpose of this rule is to establish an orderly procedure for appointment of guardians ad litem in a fair manner, open to all interested and qualified attorneys.

Annually the Court will publish an announcement inviting applications for the position of guardian ad litem to act pursuant to Section 13 of the Adoption Code.

(a) Criteria to be considered. The Court will consider an applicant's experience and knowledge in adoption law and prior experience acting as a guardian ad litem. An applicant must understand the function of a guardian ad litem, the role of an attorney appointed to represent the prospective adoptee, and the hybrid nature of the role of attorney/guardian ad litem.

(b) Term of appointment. The Court will select attorneys to serve staggered three-year terms as guardians ad litem. These attorneys may apply for additional terms.

(c) Fees.

(i) A uniform flat fee and uniform hourly rate for all guardians ad litem and/or attorneys for the child will be determined by the Court. The Court will consider submissions from applicants and other interested parties in determining the fees and rates. The Court will review suggested fees and rates on a yearly basis.

(ii) It is expected that in uncontested cases the litigants will appear in court only at the initial hearing. The guardian's flat fee will be based on this initial court appearance and the anticipated off call duties. Should a specific case require additional court appearances or additional work, the guardian ad litem and/or attorney for the child may petition the Court to proceed at the established hourly rate.

It is expected that some families will not be able to pay the established fee. Guardians must anticipate making financial accommodations in these situations.

(d) Duties and procedures.

(i) The role of the guardian ad litem is to determine what is in the best interests of the child. The guardian ad litem must review and determine the sufficiency of the pleadings and filings. The duties of guardian ad litem do not include acting as the prospective adoptee's attorney. The guardian ad litem will not act as the prospective adoptee's attorney without being appointed to do so by the Court.

(ii) If the prospective adoptee is in need of legal representation in the adoption, the Court will appoint an attorney to act as legal counsel. The Court will first consider appointing the guardian ad litem to take on this additional role. If the guardian ad litem is unable or unwilling to act as the prospective adoptee's attorney, the Court shall make the appointment from its list of guardians ad litem who have previously indicated a willingness to act in this capacity.

(iii) If selected, an individual must be available to act as guardian ad litem on assigned dates. On each assigned date, the guardian ad litem is expected to be present in the office of the guardian ad litem maintained on the 17th floor of the Richard J. Daley Center between the hours of 8:30 A.M. and 10:30 A.M. or between 12:30 P.M. and 2:30 P.M.

(iv) The individual must review each court file on the adoption call on his or her assigned date. The purpose of the review is to determine whether the individual will accept the appointment as the guardian ad litem in the case. The review will include an examination of the file to determine the sufficiency of the pleadings and the presence and adequacy of the required documentation.

(v) If the file meets with the approval of the individual, he or she will initial the interim order to indicate a willingness to accept the appointment as guardian ad litem.

(vi) If the file is found to be inadequate, the individual shall either (1) appear in court and inform the Court why he/she will not accept the appointment, or (2) submit a memorandum order stating the conditions to accept the appointment.

(vii) If the individual accepts the appointment, the case will be assigned to him or her as guardian ad litem. The guardian ad litem remains in the case until entry of final judgment or its termination. In uncontested cases, the attorney for the petitioners will submit the proposed final order and all necessary documents to the guardian ad litem. As part of his or her duties, the guardian ad litem reviews the court file and investigative report. If the case meets with the guardian's approval, he or she will so indicate by his or her initials and deliver it to the court for decision off call. In contested matters, the guardian shall forward copies of necessary documents to all parties who have filed an appearance in the case.

[Adopted March 13, 2001, effective March 13, 2001.]

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