Update on New TN Guardian ad Litem Rules 40A

fyi- make sure you see a copy of your bill, if they are refusing to show you, call this office.

Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts

 

Court Denies Davidson Co. Juvenile Courts’ Petition for Exemption from Supreme Court Rule 40A
July 8, 2009

Nashville, Tenn. – The Tennessee Supreme Court today denied the Davidson County Juvenile Court’s petition for exemption from Rule 40A, which governs the appointment of guardians ad litem (GAL) in child custody proceedings. Rule 40A was established on May 1, 2009, to outline the appropriate use of GALs, which are court-appointed attorneys, professionals or child advocates that are appointed to represent the best interests of the children. This provisional rule will be in effect until April 30, 2010, at which time the Court will further evaluate the rule for possible adoption.

“According to Rule 40A, guardians ad litem should be appointed sparingly in child custody cases and only when the child’s best interests aren’t being represented by the parties,” said Chief Justice Janice Holder. “Rule 40A provides a clear direction for when GALs are to be used and further defines their role within the proceeding.”

Rule 40A was adopted in response to testimony heard at the Tennessee House of Representatives’ Children and Family Affairs Committee in August 2007. Parties from former and current child custody proceedings related similar accounts of perceived difficulties in connection with a divorce or custody proceeding. One of the primary concerns was the proper role of court-appointed guardians ad litem in these cases, as well as the financial impact that GAL fees had on the parties.

The Supreme Court will continue to collect comments about Rule 40A until April 30, 2010, at which time the Court will review the comments and further evaluate the Rule. Please visit http://www.tncourts.gov for more information about submitting comments.

25 thoughts on “Update on New TN Guardian ad Litem Rules 40A

  1. Cindy Brown says:

    This court transferred custody of my only child at home ,daughter, to a vindictive father after he filed an emergency petition during his out of state summer visit falsely alleging dependency and neglect in order to get a GAL appointed. The GAL, Sue White, (dad’s attorney stated in Court of Apppeals that there was not a record of her appointment)
    was appointed from Seymour and told the State Attorney Mary Ward she had “MADE HER DECISION” prior to hearing the first day of the total of 5 days of hearings. The input of the court, and the GAL created a 3-ring horse and pony show.The attorneys kept each other making money and covering each other; presenting made of dramas and the referee falsely and inaccurately recorded was she deemed factual data that resembles gossip into a Statement of Fact that even her peers laughed at for being ultra detailed that went down as such and was completely bias. The judge reheard the case de nova and without hearing any of the information in the first hearing upheld the status quo and changed custody based on the child’s .. who was performing fine academically.. “failure to keep up with classmates” The child, Val, has been sent to VA where she has since received Terra Nova scores for 2006,7, and 8 progressively lower. She was in the 99 percentile in one area in TN before she was moved. She scored in the 11th percentile in one of the areas in VA and in addition she is well below her classmates their where she was at least an average student when she lived with her mom. These people have the power but lack the brains to make these decisions. The GAL argued a Dependency and Neglect claim and was allowed to do so even at the closing argument after the referee dismissed that claim and the judge said “IT DOES NOT EXIST” She was still allowed to participte and attempt to influence a court. Basically she got the last word and she had only spent a few hours with my daughter. My daughter came home from her summer visit with this woman’s cell phone programmed into her phone. She was like a psychological pedifile. She was a witch and looks like one too. By the way, there was No Abuse, No Neglect, NO reason to change custody. This dad has since fathered 2 additional children. (Total now of 3 toddlers) My daughter serves as a Nanny for them all. Tim Irwin stated on public TV tht the GAL’s are his EARS and EYES. The only qualification to be one as far as I know is you need to be an attorney without work and the GAL appointment is all yours!These people all have their day coming.

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  2. Cindy Brown says:

    If any member of the Supreme Court would like to meet with me personally for a more complete accounting of what transpired in Knoxville TN Juvinile Court under Referre Kay Kasserman’s court and Judge Tim Irwin’s court and the input of Sue White of Seymour I would immediately jump at the first opportunity.

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  3. Cindy Brown says:

    The opinion resulting can be found in the 2nd Quarter of 2009 In RE Valerie T. E 2007-02517-COA-R3-JV The $4000 transcript, however is documentation of the GAL’s input but does not include the behind the scenes workings of this bias court proceeding. This GAL made a motion to dismiss the case before any witness or testimony from the mother. She was working for the father from the time he programmed her telephone number into my 10 year old’s cell phone without my knowledge on a summer visit prior to my knowledge of any of this.
    The father’s own “priest” where he had her secretly baptized in VA that summer without informing me said to me that her dad was SNEAKY. The stepmother joined forces to do this after she had a 2 lb special needs child and did not want her new husband of less than 9 months to have to pay more than the 300 per month in child support. According to his income he would have had to pay 3 times that much but the attornies or court failed to consider this. At the end of the opinion, it is documented that the court did not consider its most recent order of 2002 and they were certainly supposed to. It was not included in the record nor was the complete juvinile court file. This was an inside job.

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  4. james standridge says:

    I read your issue and in part I agree. On the other hand I need to know what your views and laws are reguarding GAL’s screwing the proper parent and pushing for the custody to be givin to the parent of whom the phycological reports state that that parent is not capable and the other is and yet, the GAL is striving to put that child with that parent . also when the court has appointed the GAL and no contract was signed as to the parent paying GAL and yet that parent, whom was proven innocent, has to pay the GAL

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  5. Cindy Brown says:

    In addition the courts and the GAL in my case made recommendations regarding a child of 10.5 -11 year old who was “summer kidnapped” and all the action was initiated and hidden from me in VA. My child was instructed to deceive me about her “good time she was having in VA” during the visit. When she came hone she cried and told what happended. The dad’s dep and neg claim which grabbed the initial attention of the Knox court was dismissed over and over and over but by that time a GAL had been appointed even before my child returned from her visit and she was BIAS ignorant and sneaky; she only heard one side prior to her appointment. The Knox Court obviously knows nothing about child psychology. The problem is that let the dad in to play the court system in the first place. The dad is a known liar to many past employers and told tales as horrendous as his sister was seriously injured in a car accident to escape work that I know of…I know this because we investigated but the court was unwilling to consider the whole. They did not even include their last court order as part of the record. The court cherry picked records to justify their decision; and lost and mishandled and deleted the rest. In addition they ignored that the dad was locked in the courtroom with everyone’s records and was guarded by his attorney, Mr. Kern. How unethical is that?????? I was never married to or lived with this man this man thank God and the GAL did not have the knowledge of the background realtionship between these parties to even be a part of this court proceeding. She also speaks at Catholic churches and the dad and the Judge are all Catholic. They do not believe in abortion and I had an abortion when I became pregnant with this man’s child in order to get away from him. He then stalked me, even after I was married and then impregnanted me for the second time. Both me, my husband, etc told him flat out to leave me alone. He would not leave me alone. As for the GAL She was simply available and not good enough as an attorney to practice real law and this is all the work she could get. Have a great labor day!

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  6. lisa snyder says:

    I am going through a similar issue in florida. The father tried to do an emergency petition to take custody of my son saying child neglect. although the judge denied the emergency motion and I retained custody, he did appoint a guardianad litem that is trying to intimidate me. He made a home visit and there are absolutely no findings of neglect. it is my ex’s grandmother that is driving this case and it is simply about money and she is trying to have her irresponsible son more irresponsible by petitioning for sole custody so he will not have to pay child support any longer. He has fathered a mentally retarded child with another woman who is an alcoholic and drank through the entire pregnancy. This guardian ad litem is trying to threaten me now and tells me i need to retain counsel and for what. This case is a “slam dunk”. My son is in a private school with decent grades and lives in a middle class neighborhood and a home free of violence. The father has a history of violence and continues a relationship with the girlfriend with which he had a mentally deformed child with

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  7. Weekend Visit Kidnapped says:

    I’M NOT ALONE!!! I have been awake for 2 months searching for help.. My 11 yr old daughter was kidnapped when she went for a regular weekend visitation, he lives in MS I in TN, he simply refused to let me pick her up, I went in the house for her he and his wife then beat me back out MS Sheriffs Dept. then arrested me charged me with assualt and put a no contact order in place,,we have an open custody case for now 3 years and the physcologist was appointed by the judge to set judgement where she lived her visit schedule.. he signed papers along with me and my ex for her to live w me where she always has been and to visit her father.. Well now dad is ignoring that and so is the police the school, and ANYONE else who has power, the keep saying its just a piece of paper,,, the judge appointed him and she is and has been just sitting on the case like no one would believe, NO ONE HAS EVEN THOUGHT About THE BEST INTREST OF MY CHILD,,Please help,,,Every minute she waiting on me and I am about to at ANY COSTS, PROTECT MY CHILD By only ANSWERING TO GOD……

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  8. marquitta says:

    MY DAUGHTER WAS TAKEN AWAY FROM ME WHEN I WAS SENTENCED TO REHAB WHILE I WAS IN JAIL AWAITING AN OPENING FOR REHAB DCS SENT FOR ME THEY WERE 5 PEOPLE THERE AGAINST ME I BELEIVE I SHOULD HAVE HAD A LAWYER PRESENT. THEY MADE ME SIGN THE PAPERS BUT BEFORE I DID I SEEN THE DATE FEB 28 ON IT I STARTED CRYING AND I SAID MY DAUGHTER WILL BE 5 OR 6 MONTHS OLD BEFORE I GET HER BACK. THE DCS WORKER TOLD ME NO NO IT WONT ITS ACCORRDING HOW GOOD YOU DO I HAVE DONE WELL COMPLETED EHAT THEY WANTED ME TO DO BUT NOW THEIR TELLING ME IT GONNA BE 3 MORE MONTHS HOW CAN THEY DO THIS TO ME MY PARENTING PLAN DOES NOT STATE THAT I HAVE TO WAIT 3 MORE MONTHS AND TO BEAT IT ALL THE GAL THAT WAS APPOINTED FOR MY DAUGHTER WHEN I TRIED TO TALK TO HER ABOUT MY CASE CAUSE THE COURT SAID THAT I HAD TO PROVE WHAT I HAD DONE TO HER AS WELL AS DCS SHE TOLD ME SHE WAS NO LONGER ON MY DAUGHTERS CASE BUT WHEN I WENT TO HAVE MY 30 DAY TRIAL SHE SHOWED UP AND OBJECTED TO EVERYTHING THATS HOW I WAS DONE I DONT SEE HOW THIS COULD BE LEGAL I WOULD APPRECIATE SOMEONE ADVICE

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Your kids are victims of a corrupt court system. There’s no other explanation. I would advise not cooperating with any appointed guardian ad litem. Do not talk to them, tell them anything. The word to describe a GAL is IGNORANT. They are attorneys who can’t get work and they are judgemental and are the “courts ears and eyes” quoted from Tim Irwin, Judge in Knoxville TN (retired jock, current judge) who moved his children 14 times during their youth (per his recorded TV interview)

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  10. Anonymous says:

    This system is all corrupted, Court does nothing for the adults and children, only money “talks”, Court works for attorney to run the bussiness, psychologists are only money makers and work together with the GAL as a business team. I Nevet thought that Court system in US is all over corrupted. I would never immigrate to this country if I only knew how fake all this “freedom” is!!!

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  11. Donna says:

    Can a GAL actually press charges on someone. People have been threatened by this girl saying her sons GAL will press charges on anyone who talks about her to him. Can they do that? The Child ask a question why his mother is a deadbeat and they tell him the truth. Do GAL have this much autority to press charges on people?

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  12. Anonymous says:

    My daughter was moved to VA in part due to tardies and absences (excused)from school. In 2010 while living with her dad in Virginia and attendnig private Catholic school she was recorded tardy from school on Oct 22, Oct 28, Nov 4, Dec 11, Dec 16, Jan 11, Jan 19, Feb 19, Feb 22, Feb 23, March 2, March 8, March 16, March 25, April 14, April 22, April 26, April 27, April 29, May 3, May 4, May 18, May 24, June 7, June 8. She was absent on Oct 9, Jan 6, Jan 7, March 5 and was 1/2 day absent on Oct 8, March 22, May 7. Just prior to her summer 2010 visit, the biological dad filed a petition to further reduce or eliminate my visit with her. As part of the stragedy was an attempt to fooling the court into believing that there was an agreed order between the parties when there was not one. I surprised them and was there. I fired my attorney and they dropped all their witnesses (including the man who was involved in dual VA custody cases-my daughters tagged own to his own) and I represented myself again. The dad had a line up of witnesses including many I have never met, one being the dad’s brother-in-law. who is was involved in a custody battle over his own illigetimate son at the same time that my daughter’s dad sued for custody of my daughter. This man was on the witness list to eliminate my visits with my daughter! The Brinkheide family wsa already in the process of another custody battle when they became overly interested in my daughter and and succeeded also in taking the boy away from the mother. In addition they were recently appealing a VA courts decision to further harrass and eliminate the biological mother, a Native American from the child’s life which although record filed Dec 15, 2010, in the state of VA court of appeals was dropped. This family told my daughter to be afraid of me! They are kidnappers-they manipulated the TN court but in Virginia they would not have been granted custody- The TN court simply wanted to purge this case from their system and by giving my daughter to dad and VA they washed their hands

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  13. Anonymous says:

    The TN Kasserman Referee stated to the court that the mother had to “run” rather than help the child with homework. The stepmother, on the other hand whom was instrumental in the custody change had her stomach stapled because she was overly obese. So as far as parenting and my situation regarding my healthy practice of running or jogging regularly was a much healthier influence of behavoir than an obese woman having her stomach stapled. Also this woman while witnessing to gain favor and control of my daughter hid her own pregnancy in the first hearing and then a subsequent pregnany in the appeal hearing. Any person with a degree of sanity or dignity would not have exercise their rule in this manner- Thank you for the continued updates but I am removing myself from this mail list- Everytime it comes to my inbox I have to comment and I am disgusted with this system. Have a phony judicial day

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  14. Cindy says:

    In 8th grade the dad took my daughter to school late over 22 days along with her halfsister Kindergartener who the office staff told me was also late to school all those days. The office said that my daughter would enter the office with her little sister in tow for a late excuse. The dad recently missed the plane after calling me on his way to the airport to say that he would not put her on the plane unless I paid a $15 booking fee. I then called the airline and there was not a 15 fee owed because it was booked on-line. The airline then said that my daughter was not checked in for the flight in time. So she flew the following evening at 10PM to Atlanta. The dad or stepmother then scheduled her return trip from Atlanta to leave at 8AM at the end of the visit which required leaving the house at 430AM to get there. The true colors have unfolded for the rest to see however, my child’s years are lost thanks to sloppy error. In addition the stepmother during the hearing told my daughter to be afraid of me during the custody proceedings and was clearly manipulating my naive 10 year old along with her dad all along. The real judgment in caring for my daughter was the error of those who listened to them-no doubt for their own gain-maintaining the status quo within their own system. Bryan David Mitchell was also a GRAND MANIPULATOR- but gosh she was 14-not 10

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  15. Anonymous says:

    Missed flights, and then didn’t put my child on plane at Mothers Day, Christmas 2011 and now summer visitation. Couldn’t the court see what everyone else could see? A vindictive beast with a phony attitude -evil to the core – a con

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  16. Anonymous says:

    missed flights, did not put on airplane for Mother’s Day 2 years in row, then Christmas 2011 missed her flight and kept her through my Christmas co-parenting time and now its summer-missed her first flight – ignoring the parenting plan … not abiding by any part of the parentlng plan -a vindictive con-awarded full custody primarily due to an ignorant GAL Sue White

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  17. missed flights ….took child to airport but didn’t check in….missed 2 Mother’s Day weekends, all of Christmas break 2011 while I waited each time at airport and then summer visit 2012. The 2 of them (he and his wife with their kids in tow) parade my daughter- ignore the court parenting plan(s) and do not abide by any part of it – The GAL Sue White was primarily influential in the change of custody-an ignorant attorney (s) This is an example of what happens to kids when a vindictive parent cons a court

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  18. Anonymous says:

    he 2012 legislative session was rather uneventful for Tennessee family law attorneys (which is almost always a good thing, in my opinion). There was only one legislative change that I believe is noteworthy. The law establishing the factors a trial court must consider when making an initial child custody determination — Tennessee Code Annotated § 36-6-106 — had language added to one of the factors. Effective July 1, 2012, subsection (a)(10) was amended to add the following bold + italicized language:

    The court shall consider all relevant factors, including the following, where applicable:

    (10) Each parent’s or caregiver’s past and potential for future performance of parenting responsibilities, including the willingness and ability of each of the parents and caregivers to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and both of the child’s parents, consistent with the best interest of the child. In determining the willingness of each of the parents and caregivers to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and both of the child’s parents, the court shall consider the likelihood of each parent and caregiver to honor and facilitate court ordered parenting arrangements and rights, and the court shall further consider any history of either parent or any caregiver denying parenting time to either parent in violation of a court order.

    As I have noted previously on this blog, this particular factor appears to be taking on greater importance in Tennessee. As the psychological research has unequivocally shown a child’s strong relationship with both parents to be a major predictor of success and psychological health as an adult, Tennessee courts are taking note and responding accordingly. While this amendment may seem like nothing more than the codification of common sense, it cannot hurt to emphasize the importance of this single statutory factor. It may also serve to deter the contemptuous shenanigans that sometimes occur in emotional child custody disputes. All in all, that would be a

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  19. ANONYMOUS says:

    Cindy Brown,
    The GAL is their to represent the best interests of the child. But it doesn’t help when the GAL doesn’t listen to both parties of the custody case. Just listening to the vindictive father who is not parenting at all. Telling lies to the court as well as telling your daughter Valerie to be afraid of you is wrong. Your her mother. You carried her for 9 months in the womb. Having his witnesses telling lies to the court that they came up with just so he doesn’t have to pay child support is wrong. It also doesn’t help when you as her mother can’t be heard in the court system. From all the false statements that family loves to make. It doesn’t help when that family loves to tell the children to call other people mom and not their biological mother. Or the stepmothers parading around the school as the mother when they are not the mother. Or thinking that the child is a piece of property that you own out right is wrong. Your daughter Valerie will have questions for you when she gets older. You are still her mother and will always be her mother.

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  20. Anonymous says:

    Seriously — It is sad sad sad that this forum is used to air ones dirty laundry. It would suck to be erroneous in a statement here and found liable.

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  21. Anonymous says:

    The child turned 18 dec 31 and ran away just prior to that from her dad …out of state and is not speaking to relatives in va. This is the child’s voice which is now free from the court

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