Guardian ad Litem Services Columbus, GA

Advocacy for Children's Best Interests

Our Family Law Practice Areas

In the legal landscape, family dynamics often extend beyond the personal realm, necessitating experienced legal counsel. Family law encompasses a wide range of matters including divorce, child custody, and adoption, each requiring a nuanced understanding and approach. At Phillips & Sellers, P.C., with over two decades of dedicated experience, we are committed to navigating these complex issues alongside you.

Committed Guardian ad Litem Advocacy

A Guardian ad Litem (GAL) is entrusted with a crucial role: to discern and advocate for the child’s best interests in custody and visitation disputes. This involves preparing a comprehensive recommendation for the court, rooted in a deep understanding of the child’s needs and circumstances. While not serving as the child’s attorney, the GAL incorporates the child’s perspectives as appropriate, prioritizing their welfare and acting as a trusted figure throughout the process.

Our GALs approach each case with an impartial stance, devoid of any prior personal or professional biases, ensuring a focus solely on the child’s best interests. They are keenly aware of their responsibility to present the child’s viewpoints effectively to the court, alleviating the need for the child to face the daunting courtroom environment.

Upholding Children's Rights in Columbus, GA

As advocates for children, our Guardian ad Litem attorneys serve as the critical link between the child’s experiences and the judicial system, striving to convey their voices accurately to avoid direct court involvement. Beyond offering insights to the court, our GALs are instrumental in facilitating resolutions, often preventing the necessity of judicial or mediatory intervention. This proactive approach underscores our commitment to resolving disputes in a manner that honors the child’s best interests while respecting the judicial process.

Advocating for Children's Welfare

The recommendations made by our GALs significantly influence the outcome of custody and visitation matters, prompting parties to consider resolving disputes based on these insights. It is vital, however, for all involved to recognize that the final decision rests with the judge, underscoring the importance of a well-reasoned and child-focused advocacy by the Guardian ad Litem.

Crucially, our GALs adhere to strict ethical standards, ensuring no prior connections with the parties involved, maintaining neutrality, and committing to reporting any signs of abuse or neglect within 24 hours. This integrity is the foundation of our trusted role in safeguarding children’s well-being.

Our Practice Areas

Here are several of our primary areas of legal experience and expertise.

Family Law FAQ

The child’s biological mother either has to consent to the guardianship or be served with legal notice of the Petition for Guardianship. The child’s legal father has to consent to the guardianship or be served with legal notice of the Petition for Guardianship. A legal father is defined as a father who was married to the mother of the child at birth or a father that is listed on the birth certificate or who has filed an action to legitimate the child.

A child 14 years or older must consent to guardianship.

An adoption is filed in the county of residence of the person(s) who is adopting the child. You must have lived in that county for at least six (6) months prior to the filing of the adoption.

In Georgia, you must be 25 years of age or over or married and living with your spouse. You must be at least 10 years older than the child. If you are married, you must file jointly to adopt. There is no length of marriage requirement in Georgia. In Alabama, you must be 19 years of age or older. If you are married, you must file jointly. If you are the step-parent attempting to adopt your spouse’s child, you must be married for over one year before filing an adoption.

A licensed agent interviews and investigates the adoption petitioner to determine if the petitioner is physically, financially and emotionally capable of adopting a child. The agent looks at your home, your finances, and your criminal background and makes a report to the Judge to determine if the adoption is in the best interest of the child. The cost in Georgia for the home study is approximately $250.00. The cost in Alabama is more expensive but varies.

In Georgia, a home-study evaluation is required in all adoption cases except step-parent adoptions. In step-parent adoptions, the person petitioning for adoption will have to submit to a criminal background check in lieu of a complete home-study evaluation.

The fees vary depending on the complexity of the adoption. If both birth parents consent to the adoption, the adoption is considered uncontested and less expensive.

Choose Phillips and Sellers: Your Trusted Family Law Advocates in Columbus, GA

Where we treat you like a person and not like you’re just another file.

Selecting the right legal representation in family matters is crucial. At Phillips & Sellers, P.C., we prioritize your family’s well-being, offering personalized, compassionate, and skilled advocacy. Our founders, Scott Phillips and Angela Sellers, are not just passionate about family law; they embody dedication in every case, treating clients with the care and respect deserving of family.

Resources & Documentation

In certain circumstances, we lawyers will need clients to provide us with documentation at the time we commence our representation or later during the natural flow of the case. This documentation may include marriage licenses, birth certificates, proof of income, certified documents from previous litigation and other kinds of public records. Below is a list of websites where such information can be obtained as well as links to required parenting seminars, child support calculators and other information that prospective or current clients may find helpful.