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When is a guardian ad litem appointed in an adoption in WA?

In Washington State, an adoption can be a difficult and costly process. There is no doubt of its rewards, but it is important to understand all the family legal issues that can arise. One particular issue that can come up is if it is necessary to appoint a guardian ad litem. A previous post discussed what a guardian ad litem does and the importance of the role he or she serves. It is also crucial to have a guardian ad litem in certain types of adoptions.

If the parent or alleged father is under the age of 18 and an adoption is being planned, the court will appoint a guardian ad litem. It is also possible that a guardian ad litem will be appointed for the child who is being adopted or an incompetent party. The guardian ad litem will determine what is in the best interest of the particular party that is being represented. There will also be an investigation and report provided to the court as to whether or not the adopting parent's consent for the adoption was given on a voluntary basis and the consequences are fully understood.

If the child who is being given up for adoption is a dependent and the minor parent has legal representation or a guardian ad litem, the court can rely on either to provide a report. The fees for the guardian ad litem or legal representation will be paid according to the direction of the court.

People who are seeking to adopt a child that was born to parents who were underage, or have been designated as requiring a guardian ad litem, need to be aware of the law surrounding this particular circumstance. Speaking to an attorney experienced in a variety of family law matters, from child custody to adoption, is the wisest course of action for a person who is seeking to adopt.

Source: Washington State Legislature, "RCW 26.33.070 Appointment of guardian ad litem -- When required -- Payment of fees.," accessed on Jan. 4, 2016

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