In South Carolina Family Court matters, a Guardian Ad Litem (“GAL”) is appointed to be an impartial adult who advocates for the best interests of the child.
GALs don’t have to be attorneys, although they can be. There are both paid professionals (usually attorneys or social workers) and unpaid volunteers working as GALs. The term ‘ad Litem’ is Latin and means “for the suit.”
What does a GAL actually do?
A Guardian ad Litem is supposed to do their best to figure out what the child’s situation actually is, make an unbiased investigation into the immediate and extended family (and other caregivers), and make sure that the court can come to a fair decision about custody and visitation rights. Basically, the GAL has two duties:
- Investigate and report to the judge in an unbiased and factual manner about a child’s life, and;
- Advocate for what the facts show is in the best interests of the child.
Is there a Code of Ethics for a Guardian Ad Litem in South Carolina?
No. There is no formal code of ethics outlined by the State of South Carolina for a Guardian ad Litem.
SC Code § 63-3-830 (2019) says only that:
“The responsibilities and duties of a guardian ad litem include, but are not limited to: (1) representing the best interest of the child; and, (2) conducting an independent, balanced, and impartial investigation to determine the facts relevant to the situation of the child and the family.”
So—What if the GAL is acting in an unethical manner?
Good question! Removal of a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) from a case is at the discretion of the court. That means that a parent who is unhappy with the GAL assigned to his or her children has to have evidence that will convince the judge that the GAL is not following the legal guidelines.
In this series of posts I will share my experiences and evidence regarding the actions of the particular Guardian ad Litem, Maria Shiloh Averill, Esq., that the Charleston Family Court put in charge of the well-being of my children.
The series will include (but not by any means be limited to) posts covering the following:
- Compelling evidence that points to clear bias on the part of the Guardian. She did not investigate any of my concerns about the drug and alcohol use, or the resulting neglect of our sons by my estranged wife, Kristin Golestan. This was despite extensive evidence, including photos, text message exchanges, and recordings.
- The Guardian knowingly providing false information to the FBI, the Dept. of Justice and the Charleston Family Court about me, as outlined in this court document: Motion for Removal of Maria Averill as Guardian ad Litem.
- That the court provided a Guardian ad Litem for Maria Averill‘s own household because of child abuse and domestic violence as reported by children’s pediatrician Dr. Matthew P. Davis. Further, the Dee Norton child advocacy center interviewed Ms. Averill’s children and confirmed the pediatrician’s claims.
Is this the kind of Guardian Ad Litem you would want for your own children?
How can Maria Averill be qualified to act as a guardian for someone else’s children when the court needed to appoint a guardian to protect her own children from domestic violence by Ms. Averill’s Husband, Dr. Nathan J. Averill? (I’ll be sharing more on this in upcoming posts.)
The Guardian Series
I’ve expanded on this very important topic and am providing these follow up articles that add a lot more detail to my story, my experiences with Maria Averill as the Guardian Ad Litem to my cherished children.
You will see corruption on a truly astonishing level, as well as documented proofs that call for an investigation into her shady behaviors. If Maria Averill is willing to lie to the FBI so casually, for example, and wasting public resources for her own personal gain, what else is she hiding from law enforcement? Could she have also provided false testimonies to the Family Court regarding matters involving my children and I?
[Part 2:] Will The FBI Investigate Maria Averill?
What do you think? Could it be that, in separating me from my children, she may have harmed the very children she has been charged to protect? I have to wonder if racial or religious prejudices have perhaps come into play, as they have for Judge Timothy H. Pogue, in his comments about my heritage and faith in connection with my deep desire to celebrate Christmas with my children.
Please scroll down to the comments below and share your point of view on this heartbreaking situation. And again, thanks so much for your enthusiastic support! I don’t know how I could have made through all this without the love and support of my family and friends. This is the first step in our creating community around Helping Every Loving Parent (HELP) to spend time with their children. Every story is important.