Legal News: GAL order is amended (Lawyers Weekly June 8, 2020

The Probate & Family Court has adopted a newly amended version of Standing Order #-20, Guardian ad litem Evaluations, Investigations, and Reports in the Probate and Family Court in light of COVID-19 Emergency.

The order as amended June 1 supersedes Standing Order 3-20 as amended May 6 and Standing Order 3-20 as amended April 13, as well as any provision of Probate & Family Court Standing Order 2-20 and the GAL Category E and Category F standards with which it may be in conflict.

The amended order, which is intended to provide guidance to the interpretation of Standing Order 2-20, provides the following:

1. Any guardian ad litem appointment made prior to March 18 shall be extended until June 30.

2. If a guardian ad litem report is due to be filed between March 18 and May 18, the due date for the report shall be the earlier of 12 weeks from the original due date or June 30, unless a judge sets a new date certain for the guardian ad litem report to be filed.

3. Guadian ad litem evaluation or investigation interviews/meetings shall be conducted in person only if the guardian ad litem elects to do so. Interviews/meetings may be conducted by telephone or video-conferencing, at the election of the guardian ad litem.

4. Any questions related to a particular guardian ad litem appointment, investigation or report should be addressed to the assistant judicial case manager and/or sessions cleark for the judge who made the appointment.

5. Questions about how to review a guardian ad litem report should be addressed to the judicial case manager.

6. The Probate & Family will amend, allow to expire, or extend Standing Order 3-20 no later than July 1.

The full text of the amended standing order and a letter from Trial Court Chief Justice Paula M. Carey approving the amendments can be found at masslawyersweekly.com.