Frequently Asked Questions

What is a CASA? What is a GAL? What do they do?

'C.A.S.A.' stands for 'Court Appointed Special Advocate'. 'G.A.L.' stands for 'Guardian ad Litem'. GALs and CASAs have much in common- both are court-appointed individuals whose job is to look out for the 'best interest of the child' in pending litigation (usually divorce and custody cases). They investigate the matter, use their own judgment in determining the 'best interest of the child' and report their findings and recommendations to the court.

In contested custody and visitation matters, courts frequently appoint G.A.L.s for the children. A GAL puts themselves in the shoes of a legally incompetent person such as a minor child. He or she also investigates the matter and files a report with the court. G.A.L.s are usually lawyers or mental health professionals, depending on the court and circumstances.

A CASA is a 'responsible adult' who is usually not an attorney or mental health professional. Often they are community volunteers who do not have the training that a social worker receives. They may also help advise the court as to their opinion regarding the child's well-being.