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When the court appoints a Guardian ad litem, whether the…

Customer Question
When the court appoints...

When the court appoints a Guardian ad litem, whether the guardian bills the client directly or the court collects payment what is the rate for the GAL in Wisconsin? I have been charge two different rates by two different guardians for the same child custody case.

Lawyer's Assistant: Because family law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?

Wisconsin

Lawyer's Assistant: Have you talked to a lawyer yet?

I can't get a straight answer from the lawyers to the courthouses themselves.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

If a lawyer is charging more then the state supreme court has set as the rate , are there any ramifications?

Submitted: 7 months ago.Category: Family Law
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11/27/2017
Family Lawyer: LegalGems, Lawyer replied 7 months ago
LegalGems
LegalGems, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 13,597
Experience: Experienced Family Law Attorney
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Hello! I will be reviewing your question and posting a response momentarily; if you have any follow up questions please respond here. Thanks!

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Family Lawyer: LegalGems, Lawyer replied 7 months ago

Page 4 addresses GAL fees:

please see:

http://www.wisbar.org/SiteCollectionDocuments/Publications/1-GAL-Practice-Guidelines-2016-Update.pdf

The rules do not specify a certain amount the GAL must charge; but the court may assign the parties a certain percentage each party must contribute:

If a guardian ad litem is appointed, the court must require either or both of the parties to pay the fee of the guardian ad litem. If both parties are indigent, the court, in its discretion, may direct that the fee be paid by the county in which the action is brought. In all cases, the court must approve the amount of the guardian ad litem’s fees [s. 767.045 (6), Stats.]. If a guardian ad litem is permitted to move the court for an order requiring the parties or, if they cannot pay, the county to pay for expert witnesses to assist the guardian ad litem in performing his or her duties. The guardian ad litem must show that the use of experts is necessary.

http://legis.wisconsin.gov/lc/publications/lca/lca_2002_01.pdf

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
I have found in the state statues that the guardian rate for a GAL is $70 per hour which was put into effect by the state supreme court. When can a lawyer charge more than that?
Family Lawyer: LegalGems, Lawyer replied 7 months ago

The statute I am viewing states that the GAL fees must be reasonable but does not set forth an amount; please see:

Compensation. The guardian ad litem shall be compensated at a rate that the court determines is reasonable. The court shall order either or both parties to pay all or any part of the compensation of the guardian ad litem. In addition, upon motion by the guardian ad litem, the court shall order either or both parties to pay the fee for an expert witness used by the guardian ad litem, if the guardian ad litem shows that the use of the expert is necessary to assist the guardian ad litem in performing his or her functions or duties under this chapter. If both parties are indigent, the court may direct that the county of venue pay the compensation and fees. If the court orders a county to pay the compensation of the guardian ad litem, the amount ordered may not exceed the compensation paid to private attorneys under s. 977.08 (4m) (b). The court may order a separate judgment for the amount of the reimbursement in favor of the county and against the party or parties responsible for the reimbursement. The court may enforce its orders under this subsection by means of its contempt power.

https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/767/V/407

757.48 Guardian ad litem must be an attorney.

(1)

(a) Except as provided in s. 879.23 (4), in all matters in which a guardian ad litem is appointed by the court, the guardian ad litem shall be an attorney admitted to practice in this state. In order to be appointed as a guardian ad litem under s. 767.407, an attorney shall have completed 3 hours of approved continuing legal education that relates to the functions and duties of a guardian ad litem under ch. 767 and that includes training on the dynamics of domestic violence and the effects of domestic violence on victims of domestic violence and on children. In order to be appointed as a guardian ad litem under s. 54.40 (1), an attorney shall have complied with SCR chapter 36.

(b) The guardian ad litem shall be allowed reasonable compensation for his or her services such as is customarily charged by attorneys in this state for comparable services. If the court orders a county to pay the compensation of the guardian ad litem, the amount ordered may not exceed the compensation paid to private attorneys under s. 977.08 (4m) (b). If the attorney of record is also the guardian ad litem, the attorney shall be entitled only to attorney fees and shall receive no compensation for services as guardian ad litem.

(2) If the statutes do not specify how the fee of the guardian ad litem is paid, the ward shall pay such fee. The court may, however, in cases involving real or personal property in which the ward claims or may have a right or interest, order payment out of such property.

(3) No guardian ad litem may be permitted to receive any assets or income of his or her ward, nor may any bond be required of a guardian ad litem, but all assets or income of the ward may be paid or delivered to the ward's guardian of the estate, subject to the exceptions of s. 54.12.

(4) No person shall be appointed guardian ad litem for a plaintiff without the written consent of the person appointed.

It allows for the fees to be comparable to attorney fees and most attorneys do not work for $70/hour that I am aware of.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
WI State statue SCR 81.02 states $70 per hour, or if the court defines a different rate. Different rates for different types of cases. Child custody being the $70. I was charged that by 2 different GAL's and a third for the same case charged $100 with no order from the court to allow that rate?
Family Lawyer: LegalGems, Lawyer replied 7 months ago

That is the rate for certain situations (ie indigent)

So if the parties are indigent that would apply.

If so court approval would be necessary for a higher fee; the fee may be contested based on the statute provided they are indigent.

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Family Lawyer: LegalGems, Lawyer replied 7 months ago

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