Vermont judges are professionals and treat litigants fairly and courteously. It is rare for a client to complain that a judge appears biased. The same cannot be said for GALs. And because GALs are considered by parties to be representative of the court system, they can do enormous damage to public perception of our legal system’s integrity.
What is the solution? There should be a review of the GAL system to determine ts goals and effectiveness. For example, other states, like New Hampshire, use professional, paid GALs who take a much more active role in determining parenting issues. I am not sure whether Vermont should adopt such a system, but I believe that GALs should be adequately compensated to attract more GALs, and adequately trained so that they understand their role as an impartial advocate for the children.