In Colorado, a Guardian ad litem works as the legal representative of the child in dependency and neglect proceedings. The role of the Guardian ad litem in the state of Colorado is quite different from the role of similar such advocates in other states across the country. In Colorado, the Guardian ad litem is appointed by the court, and will represent the child in neglect cases.
The Guardian ad litem must be an attorney. The attorney must be licensed to practice law in the state of Colorado. He/she must act in the best interests of the child only. Typically, an attorney like this is experienced in child custody matters.
As a result, the Guardian ad litem in Colorado, unlike in other states, does not have a typical attorney-client relationship with the child. What that means is that he/she’s not necessarily advocating for his client’s wishes, but for his client’s best interests. He/she’s not advocating for the interests of the petitioners, or any other persons involved in litigation, or even the demands of the child. Guardian ad litem’s primary responsibility is to recommend to the court a course of action that is in the best interests of the child.
In Colorado, the Guardian ad litem is regulated by the Colorado Office of the Children of the Child’s Representative. The court will appoint a Guardian ad litem drawing from a database of qualified lawyers maintained by the Office of the Child’s Representative. The fees of the Guardian ad litem are paid through the Office of the Child’s Representative.
Under Colorado law, the court will appoint a guardian ad litem for the child in all neglect or dependency cases, and the guardian ad litem will participate in all the proceedings as a party. There is an exception made for delinquency cases, however. The position of the guardian ad litem will continue until the court’s jurisdiction is terminated.