Monday, March 23, 2015

Guardian Ad Litem and Chancellor Findings

For some reason, many people feel that if a guardian ad litem finds for one party or the other, there is a burden to rebut the guardian ad litem.  That is simply not the case.  See S.N.C. v. J.R.D., 755 So. 2d 1077, 1082 (Miss. 2000) ("The guardian ad litem's presence .. . in no way detracts from the chancellor's duty to hear the evidence and make a decision on all of the evidence, not just on the testimony of the guardian ad litem."); S.G., 13 So. 3d at 282 ("Recommendations of a guardian ad litem must never substitute for the duty of a chancellor.").  As such, there is no burden shift and the guardian ad litem testimony is essentially treated as that of any other witness.  The only difference is that if the recommendation is not followed, the court has to state why. 

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