Center for Cooperative Parenting

Guardians ad Litem Information

Guardians ad Litem (GAL) may be appointed in contested civil district court custody cases. They are appointed before an original custody order or a modification of a custody order is submitted to the court. GALs investigate the needs of the child in a custody dispute and make recommendations to the judge regarding what is in the child’s best interest. They interview persons involved in the child’s life and gather information from many sources to formulate a comprehensive and balanced picture of a child’s needs in the family. GALs provide written reports to the judge and may be questioned by the court and the litigants. Custody orders are formulated after the GAL investigation and report is complete. Civil District GALs are compensated by the parties in the contested custody case.

GALs must have attended and received a certificate of completion of 24 hours of Judicial District 15B’s combined Civil District Guardian ad Litem and Parent Coordinator Training that includes knowledge and practice of confidentiality, interviewing, dynamics of high conflict families, and legal issues.

Eligibility for the approved Civil District Guardian ad Litem list for Judicial District 15-B
Submit a letter of intent, recent resume and dates of your training to:
Honorable Joseph Buckner, Chief District Court Judge
P. O. Box 1088, Hillsborough, NC 27278

Monthly peer consultation among approved Civil District GALs is encouraged.

Practice Issues
Judicial District 15B’s Guardian ad Litem Program that supervises volunteer GALs in abuse, neglect and dependency cases cannot provide supervision to Civil District GALs.

Civil District Guardians ad Litem are not statutorily protected from liability claims, Civil District GALs are strongly urged to investigate personal or professional insurance coverage in regard to activities performed as a Civil District Guardian ad Litem.

View the North Carolina Statute:  Click Here. A statutory cite for GALs is N.C.G.S. § 1A-1, Rule 17(b)(3) and can be found at:

Click here to download the current list.