Section 11 - Guardian Ad Litem Fees and Expenses

As amended through October 8, 2020
Section 11 - Guardian Ad Litem Fees and Expenses
(a) The guardian ad litem shall be compensated for fees and expenses in an amount the court determines is reasonable. In determining whether the guardian ad litem's fees and expenses are reasonable, the court shall consider the following factors:
(1) the time expended by the guardian;
(2) the contentiousness of the litigation;
(3) the complexity of the issues before the court;
(4) the expenses reasonably incurred by the guardian;
(5) the financial ability of each party to pay fees and costs;
(6) the fee customarily charged in the locality for similar services; and
(7) any other factors the court considers necessary.
(b) Concerning the allocation of the fee among the parties, the court may do one or more of the following:
(1) order a deposit to be made into an account designated by the court for the use and benefit of the guardian ad litem;
(2) before the final hearing, order an amount in addition to the amount ordered deposited under paragraph (1) to be paid into the account.
(3) equitably allocate fees and expenses among the parties; and
(4) reallocate the fees and expenses at the conclusion of the custody proceeding, in the court's discretion, if the initial allocation of guardian ad litem fees and/or expenses among the parties has become inequitable as a result of the income and financial resources available to the parties, the conduct of the parties during the custody proceeding, or any other similar reason. Any reallocation shall be included in the court's final order in the custody proceeding and shall be supported by findings of fact.
(c) The appointment order shall specify the hourly rate to be paid to the guardian ad litem. If an initial deposit is deemed appropriate by the trial court, the appointment order shall state the amount of deposit, the date of deposit, and the account or location in which the deposit shall be made. The order shall also state whether periodic payments may be drawn from the initial deposit.
(d) If an initial deposit is required and the trial court deems that periodic payments may be drawn from the initial deposit, the trial court shall:
(1) provide the manner in which withdrawals may be made;
(2) require notice to the parties of the withdrawal, including a statement of services rendered, supported by an affidavit; and
(3) provide a reasonable opportunity to object to the fees charged before the withdrawal is made.
(e) To receive payment under this section beyond the amount in the initial deposit, if any, the guardian ad litem must complete and file with the court a written claim for payment, whether interim or final, justifying the fees and expenses charged and supported by an affidavit. Any objection to the guardian ad litem's fee claim shall be filed within fifteen days after the claim is filed.
(f) Failure to object to a statement regarding periodic payments does not constitute a waiver of any objection to the reasonableness of the guardian ad litem's total fees. The guardian ad litem shall file a final written claim for payment within thirty days of the entry of the final order. Any objection must be filed within fifteen days after the guardian ad litem's final written claim for payment is filed.
(g) If no objection is timely filed, the court shall file a written order approving the claim, or portion thereof, determined to be reasonable and related to the duties of the guardian ad litem.
(h) If an objection is timely filed, the court shall conduct a hearing and thereafter file a written order denying the claim, or approving the claim, or portion thereof, determined to be reasonable and related to the duties of the guardian ad litem.
(i) The guardian ad litem must seek court approval before incurring extraordinary expenses, such as expert witness fees. Any order authorizing the guardian ad litem to hire expert witnesses must specifjr the hourly rate to be paid the expert witness, the maximum fee that may be incurred without further authorization from the court, how the fee will be allocated between the parties, and when payment is due.