Court Visitor/Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) Title 11
Adult Guardianship Court Visitor/GAL Registry
Click here to see the list of all Court Visitors/GALs approved to be appointed by the Court.
RCW Title 11 requires the Court to appoint a Court Visitor/GAL from a registry in a system of consistent rotation. Court Administration maintains the Registry and will provide parties the name of the next Court Visitor/GAL on the list for inclusion in an Order Appointing Court Visitor/GAL.
An attorney may be provided 3 random names from the list in order to expedite the appointment and facilitate ease in finding an available Court Visitor/GAL with the fewest communication, but the attorney shall always attempt to contact the first name provided from the registry.
The Court does entertain special, out-of-sequence requests for the appointment of a Court Visitor/GAL when the situation requires particular expertise.
Before the Order is signed by a judicial officer, the availability of the Court Visitor/GAL to serve on the particular case should be confirmed by the attorney or self-represented parties.
Please call (360) 709-3295 for the next name on the list.
If you need to have a Court Visitor/GAL appointed in a Guardianship case follow these procedures for best result:
- Call Court Administration at (360) 709-3295. They will give you the name and phone number of the next individual in order on the Registry.
- You are responsible for attempting to contact the Court Visitor/GAL to determine their availability to serve as a Court Visitor/GAL. PLEASE do not effect the appointment of a Court Visitor/GAL until you have spoken with the proposed Court Visitor/GAL and determined his/her availability and identified any conflicts.
- You must phone Court Administration, if the proposed Court Visitor/GAL is unavaliable to accept the case. Court Administration will provide you the name and phone number of the next individual in order on the Registry. (This process will continue until a Court Visitor/GAL accepts your case.)
- File your petition with the Clerk's Office.
- Once the Court file is established, take the motion and order to any Judicial officer at ex parte to effect the appointment of the Court Visitor/GAL. It is the preferred practice for you to obtain the Judicial officer’s signature after the file is opened with the clerk. There is always a Judicial officer available for ex parte matters every day. For more information about ex parte click here.
- Motions for these civil matters are heard at Family & Juvenile Court on Fridays at 2:00 & 3:00 p.m. on the Probate & Guardianship Calendar. Click here for session availability.
About Court Visitors/GALs
A Court Visitor/Guardian ad litem (GAL) is a person appointed by the Court to investigate and report factual information to the Court regarding whether a person is incapacitated to such a degree that he or she cannot care for himself or herself or his or her estate and whether the proposed Guardian would be appropriate. Appointments are made from the Court’s Registry on a rotational basis.
A Court Visitors/GAL personally meets with the alleged incapacitated person, determines whether the person desires or needs to be represented by an attorney, obtains a written report from a medical professional defined by RCW 11.88.045 regarding capacity, consults with others who have information related to the alleged incapacitated person, and meets with the proposed Guardian.
Fees are charged for work done by Court Visitors/GALs. Each Court Visitor's/GAL’s rates are posted on the Registry. Public funds are available to pay for a Court Visitor/GAL if the alleged incapacitated person lacks funds or an estate to pay.
Becoming a Court Visitor/GAL
The State of Washington requires that all Court visitors and GALs in guardianships, conservatorships and other protective arrangements be required by statute to complete training. See RCW 11.130.155 for qualifications, training requirements and appointment process.
Information for Court Visitors/GALs
If at any time your information changes, please contact the Registry Coordinator so they can update your information. Your information must be updated every 2 years from being accepted to the Registry. The Court requires recertification by February 28th in even numbered years. You can find the recertification application here.
The Court’s policy requires each Court Visitor/GAL on our list to accept one case for payment at public expense each year. The Court pays $75 per hour with a limit of 15 hours without prior approval of the Court.
Court Visitors/GALs are expected to be familiar with the Superior Court Rules, with the Local Rules, and with civil procedure. Non-Attorney Court Visitors/GALs should be particularly mindful of timeliness and the requirements of the RCWs.
The Guardianship roundtable which includes attorneys, Court Visitors/GALs, guardians, and other interested in this area of practice meets intermittently throughout the year. If you would like to be included on a mailing list, please email Daniel Smerken, the Roundtable Chair, at email@example.com and leave your address and phone number for future announcements.