Now Accepting New Clients!

FAMILY LAW 53: The trial court erred by treating the parties’ GAL as an LGAL and denying the parties the right to question her at a hearing; however, the trial court did not err in requiring the parties to compensate the GAL for her services.

Plaintiff and Defendant were never married, but share a young son who was born in 2016. The parties have battled over custody, child support, and other parenting issues ever since. In the spring of 2019, the parties filed competing motions to modify the parenting-time schedule and custody arrangement.  After hearing, the court appointed a Guardian Ad Litem (G.A.L.) for minor child. The court ordered that the parties would be “equally responsible for the fees and costs of the G.A.L. On the record, the GAL identified herself as the guardian ad litem. Frost appeared at the August 8, 2019 custody hearing and again identified herself as the child’s “Guardian ad Litem.”  In between the evidentiary and follow-up hearings, the GAL sought payment for her services as an LGAL. She asserted that she had “performed the services requested by the Court” and had submitted her bill to the parties through their attorneys. However, neither party had paid.  


On appeal, Defendant contends that the trial court incorrectly treated the GAL as an LGAL rather than a GAL. This is true.  A court speaks through its written orders and judgments, not through its oral pronouncements.  The court clearly appointed the GAL to serve as GAL, not LGAL, in its May 21, 2019 order. If the court erred and actually intended GAL to serve as LGAL, the court needed to enter a corrected order. The court did not do so and therefore she remained a GAL. But does this error require relief? In a child custody proceeding, a GAL is an individual whom the court appoints to assist the court in determining the child’s best interests. A [GAL] does not need to be an attorney. An LGAL is an attorney appointed under section 4. A [LGAL] represents the child, and has the powers and duties, as set forth in section 4 Contrary to Defendant’s contention,  she met the obligations of a GAL.  She attended every required court hearing. She assisted the court in assessing NB’s best interests as required by MCL 722.22(g). She authored a report and filed it with the court. Ultimately, she spoke to both parties and Defendant’s therapist, reviewed a recent custody evaluation, and considered evidence presented by the parties, such as “videos” presented by the parties. She thereby assessed the concerns raised in the court’s order. And as such, she was entitled to payment for the services actually completed as a GAL.


Although the GAL fulfilled her role, the court interfered with Defendant’s right to examine her and to thereby controvert her report by denying his request to call her  to the stand. While she is an attorney by trade, she was not serving as an attorney or an LGAL in this case. The parties may call her to the stand in her capacity as GAL. The parties will be permitted to question her as the GAL regarding her report. We affirm that portion of the September 20, 2019 order requiring the parties to compensate her for her services to date.


Aldrich Legal Services understands what a stressful time this is for you when you have parenting time issues.

Aldrich Legal Services represent parents throughout southeast Michigan with a wide range of family law related matters.

Contact Aldrich Legal Services

Speak to a Pro: (734) 404-3000



Michigan Expungement Law Updates For 2021

There has been a new laws regarding expungements for the state of Michigan.  Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation that expands the criteria for expungements related to traffic offenses, marijuana convictions, and minor...

Wills and Trusts

Originally posted on: 02/14/2014 Aldrich Legal Service provides legal advice and representation for residents in Plymouth, Ann Arbor, and Southeast Michigan. We also review recent legal cases to examine what took place and what we can...

REAL ESTATE 68: Holding that plaintiffs-buyers’ allegations of fraud in this case arising from the sale of a residence did not preclude the trial court from granting defendants’ motion for summary disposition based on a release, the court affirmed.

This cause of action arises from plaintiffs’ purchase of a residence from defendant, who had rights in the house under a land contract from co-defendant, the legal owner of the house. Before the house was for sale, in January 2018, an upstairs...

REAL ESTATE 65: Determining that it could not conclude the trial court erred in its factual findings, and that it did not err in reforming a 2005 deed, the court affirmed the ruling that defendants were fee simple owners of the disputed 50-foot area

This case arose from a real-property dispute between brothers, as well as their respective wives. After a bench trial, the trial court rendered its findings of fact. The trial court determined that plaintiffs did not prove that excluding the...

FAMILY LAW 58: The trial court did not err by denying defendant-father’s motion to change custody and modify his parenting time of the parties’ child without having an evidentiary hearing to determine if there was proper cause or a change in circums

This case arose from a custody and parenting-time dispute between plaintiff-mother and father over their minor child. After father failed to respond to the paternity complaint within the 21 days of receipt of the complaint, mother filed an affidavit...

DIVORCE 53: Although the court affirmed the trial court’s decisions to deny defendant’s motions to set aside the default and the default JOD, it vacated the portions of the default JOD as to the distribution of marital property, custody, parenting t

Plaintiff filed for divorce. Defendant filed an answer and a counterclaim for divorce.  Plaintiff and defendant were both ordered to appear at the settlement conference. After defendant failed to appear, the trial court entered a default. Soon...

The Difference Between Theft, Robbery, and Burglary

Original Post: 1/11/2019 Often, burglary, robbery, and theft are used interchangeably even though there are distinct differences between all of them. Though, what all three do have in common is they may involve the unlawful taking of...

Don't let a bad decision, unfair contract, or a messy divorce get in the way of a promising future!
Contact the experienced team at Aldrich Legal Services today to schedule your free initial
and secure reliable and trustworthy representation today!
Get the Help You Need From a Team You Can Truly Count On: (734) 404-3000