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Free-range GALs — unlicensed practice of law by GAL not fundamental error

Court: Florida Third DCA

Judges: Lagoa, Fernandez, Schwartz

Issue: Is it fundamental error to allow a GAL to question witnesses directly in a dissolution trial?

Holding:  Even though GALs must participate only through counsel by statute, it’s not fundamental error if they don’t. The husband here did not object at trial and there was no showing that the GAL’s questions affected the outcome of the trial.

Cite: Millen v. Millen, — So.3d —- (Fla. 3rd DCA 2013)

Thoughts: Next up…charge of UPL against the GAL? Judge Fernandez says “it’s a clear violation of law…a third degree felony.” Says Judge Schwartz: “This is not what a guardian ad litem is supposed to do.”

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