Guardians ad Litem & Court Visitors

Roles & Services

A court visitor / guardian ad litem (GAL) is an adult who is appointed by the court to represent the best interests of an individual for a specific purpose for a specific period of time. Under the direction of the court, a Court Visitor / GAL performs an investigation and prepares a report for the court of the Court Visitor / GAL's findings and recommendations. The Court Visitor / GAL's responsibilities and duties are set forth by statute, court rule and the order appointing the Court Visitor / GAL.

The Court maintains a registry for Title 11 Court Visitors/GAL for Adult Guardianships, 11.130.195 Court Visitors for Minor Guardianships and 26.09 GAL for parenting plan cases. The registry is the list of individuals who have been approved to be appointed as a Court Visitor or Guardian ad litem. Depending on the type of case, the parties may be required to deposit a retainer with the Clerk's Office before the GAL is appointed or the Court Visitor/GAL may be paid for by the court.

Additional Resources

Mandatory Court Registry

The Court maintains a registry (list) of individuals who have been approved to be appointed as a Court Visitor or Guardian ad litem.

  1. Court Visitor - Title 11 Adult Guardianship
  2. Parenting GAL -26.09
  3. Court Visitor - 11.130.195 Minor Guardianship

The court maintains a mandatory Title 11 Certified Registry of Court Visitors  who investigate whether the alleged incapacitated individual is incapacitated and needs a guardianship established. Court Visitors are appointed from the registry by calling the Commissioner Services Department (CSD) who will provide the next name on the list based on whether the appointment is private or county pay. The court must complete and file the Order Appointing Court Visitor (pattern form GDN C 103) and give notice to the appointed Court Visitor by emailing/mailing the order to the appointed Court Visitor. 

No Court Registry Maintained

  1. Litigation GAL - Title 4
  2. Settlement GAL (SGAL)
  3. Parentage GAL - 26.26

Capacity to participate in litigation Title 4 Guardianships are under RCW 4.08.050 (minor) and RCW 4.08.060 (incapacitated person). A minor and an incapacitated person cannot sue or be sued except through a litigation guardian ad litem (LGAL). Parents or relatives of a minor child can act as the LGAL to represent the child in court actions. If the court is of the opinion that the parents or relatives are not suitable, the court shall appoint a guardian to act. Pierce County Superior Court does not maintain a registry for Title 4 guardians.