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Showing posts with label BILL #494. Show all posts
Showing posts with label BILL #494. Show all posts

Thursday, May 15, 2014


OLR Bill Analysis
sSB 494 (File 619, as amended by Senate “A”)*
This bill makes several modifications to laws related to the appointment of guardians ad litem (GALs) and counsels for minor children (CMC). It:
1. establishes new procedures for courts to follow when appointing GALs and CMCs in family relations matters or before allowing certain third-party interventions, but exempts emergency situations from the procedures;
2. allows parties to (a) request the appointment of a specific GAL or CMC, with a written agreement, or (b) choose one from a list of 15 provided by the court;
3. allows the court to appoint a GAL or CMC from the list if the parties do not make a selection within a specific period of time and requires the court to consider the unique circumstances of the parties and child when doing so;
4. requires the court to include in its orders the GAL's or CMC's specific duties, appointment duration, deadline for reporting to the court, fee schedule, and proposed schedule for periodic court review;
5. requires GALs and CMCs to (a) consider the child's best interest and consider a list of factors when doing so and (b) file an affidavit with the court on the hours and expenses billed that must become a part of the case file;
6. requires the court to allow a GAL and CMC to participate in certain court proceedings when it is in the child's best interests and in a manner that minimizes legal fees;
7. allows health care professionals to participate in certain court proceedings and limits the circumstances under which a GAL or CMC may report on any medical diagnosis or conclusion;
8. allows parties, in a case involving a minor child's care, custody, support, education, or visitation, to file a motion to seek removal of a GAL or CMC and requires the Judicial Branch to establish procedures to have a hearing on such a motion;
9. establishes new compensation requirements, such as (a) allowing courts to order payment of GALs' reasonable fees in the same manner currently available to CMCs, (b) prohibiting courts from ordering payment of fees from a minor child's college savings funds, other exempt property, or in the case of those who cannot afford it, through the use of credit cards, and (c) allowing courts to order the calculation of fees on a sliding-scale basis (i.e., fees that vary based on a person's ability to pay), using a methodology the Judicial Branch develops;
10. requires the Judicial Branch to develop a (a) GAL and CMC professional code of conduct and (b) publication on GALs' and CMCs' roles and responsibilities applicable to family relations matters and the process for indigent parties to apply for a GAL or CMC appointment;
11. requires the court to specify the basis for its decision in custody, care, education, visitation, and support orders; and
12. modifies the factors that are considered when determining a person's eligibility for the appointment of counsel in family relations matters.
The bill also makes technical and conforming changes.
*Senate Amendment “A” replaces the underlying bill with similar provisions. In doing so, the amendment (1) increases from five to 15, the number of eligible GALs or CMCs a court must provide to parties to choose from; (2) increases the frequency of periodic court review of GALs and CMCs from every six months to every three months; and (3) prohibits the court from ordering the payment of GAL's and CMC's fees (a) from exempt property or (b) through the use of credit cards, for parties who cannot afford it.
It also:
1. requires the court, when appointing GALs and CMCs, to consider the unique circumstances of the parties and child;
2. requires GALs and CMCs to file an affidavit with the court on the hours and expenses billed in family relations matters;
3. limits the appointment of GALs and CMCs in divorce, annulment, or legal separation cases to only after reasonable options and efforts to resolve disputes have been made;
4. requires the court to allow GALs and CMCs to participate in court proceedings at times that minimize the legal fees incurred by the parties;
5. establishes limitations on a healthcare professional's report and records;
6. provides a list of factors that a GAL or CMC must consider when determining the child's best interest;
7. requires the Judicial Branch to include in its publication a description of the process for an indigent party to apply for GAL or CMC appointment in a family relations matter;
8. requires the court to specify the basis for its decision in custody, care, education, visitation, and support orders; and
9. modifies the factors that are considered when determining a person's eligibility for the appointment of counsel in family relations matters.
EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2014, except for the (1) Judicial Branch's publication, which is effective July 1, 2014 and (2) GAL and CMC professional code of conduct, which is effective upon passage.
By law, a GAL is a person, not necessarily an attorney, appointed by the court during certain proceedings to gather information at the court's request and report on what he or she believes to be in a person's best interest. A CMC is an attorney appointed by the court to advocate in court for a minor child's best interest.
New Procedure
By law, a court may appoint a GAL or CMC in “family relations matters” involving minor children (see BACKGROUND). The court may also appoint a CMC in certain cases where a third party wishes to be awarded full or partial custody of a minor child.
The bill authorizes the court to appoint a GAL for a minor child under the same circumstances as it may appoint a CMC. Thus, if the court deems it to be in the best interest of a child, it may appoint a CMC or GAL at any time (1) after the return date of an annulment, divorce, or legal separation or (2) when any such action is controversial. The court may do so on its own motion or at the request of either party, a legal guardian, or a child who is old enough and capable of making an intelligent request.
Under the bill, when a GAL or CMC is being appointed in any of the cases mentioned above, the:
1. court must provide the parties with a list of 15 people it has determined eligible to serve as GAL or CMC;
2. parties, within two weeks after the court provides the list, must notify the court in writing of the name of the person they have selected to serve; and
3. court must appoint one of the people from the list to serve, if the parties cannot agree or do not notify the court in a timely manner.
The court must consider any unique circumstances of the parties and any child when determining whether a person is eligible to serve as GAL or CMC in a particular case. Under the bill, such circumstances include:
1. financial circumstances;
2. language barriers;
3. transportation barriers;
4. physical, mental, or learning disabilities; and
5. the geographic proximity of the person's office to the residence of each of the parties and to the court where the matter is pending.
Under the bill, the new appointment procedures do not apply in an emergency situation or if the parties ask the court to appoint a specific GAL or CMC by submitting a written agreement to the court with the name of the person they have selected to serve.
Duties, Duration of Appointment, Fee Schedule, and Periodic Review
Under the bill, within 21 days after the court has ordered the appointment of a GAL or CMC, it must enter a subsequent order, which must include the:
1. specific nature of GAL's or CMC's work;
2. appointment end date, which may be extended by a court order for good cause shown;
3. deadline for the GAL or CMC to report to the court on the work he or she has done;
4. fee schedule, which must include the (a) retainer amount, (b) hourly rate, (c) each party's share of the retainer and hourly fees, and (d) if applicable, information related to the calculation of fees on a sliding-scale basis; and
5. proposed schedule of periodic court review of the GAL's or CMC's work done and fees charged.
Under the bill, the periodic court review of the GAL's or CMC's work and fees must occur at least every three months after his or her appointment. The bill allows the parties and the GAL or CMC to waive the periodic court review by filing a written agreement with the court.
GAL and CMC Affidavit
The bill requires a GAL and CMC in a family relations matter to file an affidavit with the court, within 30 days after the entry of a final judgment, that includes the:
1. case name and docket number,
2. total number of hours and expenses billed, and
3. hourly fee and total amount charged.
A GAL and CMC must not charge the parties for the preparation of the affidavit, which must be part of the case file.
Limitations on GAL or CMC Appointment
Under the bill, in a divorce, annulment, or legal separation case the court may appoint a GAL or CMC only when, in its discretion, reasonable options and efforts to resolve the parties' dispute regarding the custody, care, education, visitation, or support of a minor child have been made. The bill allows the court to make such a decision when the parties have no agreement on a GAL or CMC.
GAL's, CMC's, and Health Care Professional's Participation in Court Proceedings
Under current law, a CMC must participate in a minor child's custody, care, education, visitation, or support proceeding if the court deems it to be in the child's best interest. The bill also requires a GAL's participation under those circumstances.
Under the bill, to the extent practicable, the court must allow a GAL or CMC to participate at (1) the beginning or conclusion of the matter or (2) any other time the court deems appropriate to minimize legal fees incurred by the parties.
The bill prohibits a GAL or CMC from speaking or reporting to the court on any medical diagnosis or conclusion made by a health care professional who is treating the minor child, unless the parties have refused to cooperate in paying for or obtaining records containing the health care professional's medical diagnosis or conclusion. Under the bill, if the court deems it to be in the child's best interests, the health care professional must be heard on matters pertaining to the child's interests, including the child's custody, care, support, education, and visitation.
Best Interest of the Child Factors
The bill requires a GAL or CMC to consider the best interest of the child and provides a list of factors that they must consider in doing so. The bill does not require a GAL or CMC to assign any weight to any of the factors considered. The factors include:
1. the child's temperament and developmental needs;
2. the parent's capacity and disposition to understand and meet the child's needs;
3. any relevant and material information obtained from the child, including his or her informed preferences;
4. the wishes of the child's parents as to custody;
5. the child's past and current interaction and relationship with each parent, the child's siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interests;
6. each parent's willingness and ability to facilitate and encourage a continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent as is appropriate, including compliance with any court orders;
7. any manipulation by or coercive behavior of the parents in an effort to involve the child in the parents' dispute;
8. each parent's ability to be actively involved in the child's life;
9. the child's adjustment to his or her home, school, and community environments;
10. the length of time the child has lived in a stable and satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity in such environment, but the GAL or CMC may consider it favorably that a parent voluntarily leaves the child's family home temporarily to alleviate stress in the household;
11. the stability of the child's existing or proposed residences;
12. the involved individuals' mental and physical health, except the disability of a proposed custodial parent or other party must not determine custody unless the proposed custodial arrangement is not in the child's best interests;
13. the child's cultural background;
14. the effect of an abuser's actions on the child, if any domestic violence has occurred between the parents or between a parent and another individual or the child;
15. whether the child or his or her sibling has been abused or neglected; and
16. whether a party satisfactorily completed the legally required parenting education program.
The bill allows parties to a case involving a minor child's care, custody, support, education, or visitation to file a motion to seek removal of a GAL or CMC (i.e., it gives such parties “standing”).
The bill requires the Judicial Branch to establish procedures to have a hearing on the motion for removal of GALs and CMCs.
Under the bill, the court (1) may, before hearing the motion, refer the parties to the Judicial Branch's family services unit and (2) if there is no resolution, must have a hearing and make a decision on the motion for removal.
Reasonable Fees
Under current law, if the court appoints an attorney for a minor child in a case involving divorce, annulment, legal separation, child support enforcement, revocation or construction of wills, or in any family relations matter, it may order the attorney's reasonable fees be paid:
1. by the father, mother, or intervening party, individually or in any combination;
2. from the child's estate, in whole or in part; or
3. by the Public Defender Services commissioner, if the child is receiving or has received state aid or care.
The bill allows the court, in cases where a GAL is appointed, to also order these payment options for the GAL's reasonable fees.
The bill updates the reference to the term “attorney for a minor child” with the terminology “counsel for a minor child” (CMC), for consistency.
College Savings Accounts, Credit Cards, and Exempt Property
The bill prohibits the court from ordering the father, mother, or intervening party to pay the GAL's or CMC's reasonable fees from (1) income or assets that are not subject to debt collection or court order (i.e., “exempt property”) or (2) a college savings account established for the minor child, including tuition programs established and maintained by a state or its agency or instrumentality, or by one or more eligible education institutions (i.e., “qualified tuition programs”) (see BACKGROUND).
The bill also prohibits the court from ordering a party who does not have the ability to pay the GAL's or CMC's reasonable fees to do so through the use of a credit card.
Sliding-Scale Basis
Under the bill, in cases where the court appoints a GAL or CMC, after considering the parties' income and assets, the judge may order the fees to be calculated on a sliding-scale basis. The bill requires the Judicial Branch to develop and implement a methodology for calculating GALs' and CMCs' fees on a sliding-scale basis.
The bill requires the Judicial Branch to develop a publication on the roles and responsibilities of GALs and CMCs in family relations matters. The publication must (1) be available to the public in hard copy and on the Judicial Branch's website and (2) include detailed information describing the process for an indigent party to apply to the court for GAL and CMC appointment in a family relations matter.
Under the bill, by October 1, 2014, the Judicial Branch must develop and implement a professional code of conduct for GALs and CMCs appointed in family relations matters.
By law, the court may make or modify orders regarding custody, care, education, visitation, and support of children. It may assign parental responsibilities jointly, or may award custody to either parent or to a third party. The law, unchanged by the bill (1) requires the court to consider the best interests of the child and (2) provides a list of factors the court may consider in doing so.
Under existing law, the court is not required to assign a weight to any of the factors that it considers. The bill requires the court to specify the basis for its decision.
By law, if a child or youth and his or her parents or guardians are unable to afford counsel in a family relations matter, the judicial authority must determine their eligibility for counsel (e.g., a public defender). To determine their eligibility for counsel, the parents or guardians must complete a sworn written statement showing their liabilities, assets, income, sources of income, and any other information required on the Public Defender Services Commission's forms.
The bill requires the judicial authority, when determining eligibility for appointment of counsel, to examine the parent's or guardian's present ability to afford counsel. But, the judicial authority cannot consider a parent's or guardian's prior history of payments to counsel or prior ability to afford counsel as evidence of such parent's or guardian's present ability to afford counsel.
Family Relations Matters
By law, “family relations matters” are matters affecting or involving divorce; legal separation; annulment; alimony; support; custody; visitation; change of name; civil restraining orders; civil support obligations; petitions on behalf of a mentally ill person not charged with a criminal offense; wrongful convictions; paternity; appeals from probate court decisions concerning adoption, termination of parental rights, appointment and removal of guardians, custody of a minor child, appointment and removal of conservators, orders for custody of any child, and orders to commit persons to public and private institutions and to other appropriate facilities; actions related to prenuptial and separation agreements and to matrimonial and civil union decrees of a foreign jurisdiction; dissolution; legal separation or annulment of a civil union performed in a foreign jurisdiction; interstate child custody matters; and all other matters within the Superior Court's jurisdiction concerning children or family relations as the court determines (CGS § 46b-1).
Exempt Property
By law, exempt properties are those that are not subject to any debt collection process or court order. They include:
1. necessary apparel, bedding, foodstuffs, household furniture, appliances, tools, books, and instruments;
2. burial plots;
3. public assistance payments;
4. health and disability insurance payments;
5. workers' compensation, Social Security, veterans, and unemployment benefits;
6. court-approved child support payments;
7. one motor vehicle valued up to $3,500 (i.e., fair market value less liens);
8. wedding and engagement rings;
9. residential utility deposits for one residence, and one residential security deposit;
10. alimony and support, other than child support, if wages are exempt from execution;
11. up to $1,000 interest in any property;
12. certain interests and accrued dividends in certain unmatured life insurance contracts; and
13. owner-occupied residential property valued up to $75,000 (CGS §§ 52-352a & 352b).
Qualified Tuition Program
The term “qualified tuition program” means a program established and maintained by a state, its agency or instrumentality, or by one or more eligible educational institutions that allows a person to:
1. purchase tuition credits or certificates on behalf of a designated beneficiary entitling him or her to the waiver or payment of his or her qualified higher education expenses or
2. make contributions to an account established for the beneficiary's qualified higher education expenses.
A qualified tuition program must meet other specified requirements that pertain to things such as cash contributions, separate accounting, investment direction, and tax treatment (26 U.S.C.A. § 529(b)).

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


The CT Law Tribune reports on the passage of Bill #494 as follows:  "After all the acrimony surrounding the debate over guardian ad litem reform, the final votes in the General Assembly were unanimous. And the results led some lawmakers and advocates to suggest that the legislation granting expanded rights to parents in divorce and custody proceedings may be only the first step in a larger overhaul of Connecticut's family courts.
On Friday, April 25, the Senate voted 35-0 and the House of Representatives voted 129-0 to send to Gov. Dannel Malloy a bill that gives parents a greater say as to who will represent their children in contententious custody cases. It also would give the parties to a family court case legal standing to seek the removal of guardians. Further, it would require the presiding judge to spell out in advance the scope of a guardian ad litem's work, deadlines for completion and fees."

For the complete article, please click on the link below:

Saturday, April 26, 2014



I welcome your views on this new legislation.  Is this more of the same corruption, or are there new safeguards that we should feel excited about.  Please leave your comments below in the comment section!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


Dear Members of the Joint Committee on Judiciary,
It was somewhat reassuring to hear many members of the committee during the April 1, 2014 committee meeting acknowledge the concerns expressed by parents who testified at the March 31, 2014 public hearing on Bill No. SB00494.
However, it was somewhat disappointing to see that in the end, despite the favorable rhetoric, additional changes were not made to Bill No. SB00494 as requested by the parents who testified on March 31, 2014.
As such, a petition was started just this morning requesting that Bill No. SB 00494 be amended.  Thus far the petition has been signed by 100 persons (and the list grew by several persons as I wrote this email) requesting that the State Legislature Amend Bill no. SB00494 as noted in the attached Petition.
Please take into consideration incorporating the proposed amendments outlined in the attached petition before moving for a full vote on the floor.
Please do not hesitate to contact myself or any of the other parents, who have already expressed our concerns to you on numerous occasions, to discuss the content of this petition.
Thank you once again for taking time from your busy schedules to review our concerns.
Hector Morera


Atty. Barbara Erens, Dr. Elizabeth Thayer, Atty. Sharon Dornfeld, and Atty. Kate Haakonsen




I've started the petition "Connecticut State Legislature and Dannel Malloy: Amend SB00494" and need your help to get it off the ground.
Will you take 30 seconds to sign it right now? Here's the link: 
Here's why it's important: 
On April 1, 2014, the Judiciary Committee voted to send their version of Bill SB00494 to the entire legislature for vote.  Their version of the bill does address the issues raised by the public during public hearings held on January 9, 2014 and on March 31, 2014.
We respectfully ask the entire State Legislature to amend Bill SB00494 to address the concerns raised by the public as follows:

1.  Assign GAL's in Family Court cases ONLY after abuse and/or neglect has been identified as a concern and a hearing has been held to substantiate the claims.  Otherwise, the judge has the option of ordering an outside evaluator to investigate claims made by the parties in contested matters.

2.  Create or modify an independent entity, to provide oversight of all GAL's / AMC's who are appointed in Family Court cases.
3.  Create a written Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics to which all GAL's and AMC's must adhere otherwise face discplinary action from the oversight entity or removal from assignment.
4. Provide a clear definition of the role of the GAL / AMC.  At the minimum it should include the following, home visit which each parent and child(ren), discussion with and prepare report or evaluation of the 16 statutory factors involved in the determination of best interests of the child.
5.  Cap fees paid to a GAL unless agreed to by BOTH parties.
6. Prior to presenting a list of 5 GAL's to the parties, draw by chance from a larger pool of GAL's the 5 names.
7.  Require that the Judiciary solicit public input for any publication concerning the role of GAL's prior to release of said publication.
8.  Provide clear guidelines for removal of GAL's /AMC's so as to avoid wide discretion in the judicial authoriity to make such determination.
9.  Prohibit the admission of hearsay by the GAL into evidence.
10. Require that all GAL files be discoverable to all parties.
11. Eliminate PB 25-61 rule in which all evaluations are given to the GAL.  All evaluations should be delivered to the court directly by the party who performed the evaluation.
12. Provide guidelines to use in determining whether a GAL's request for an extension of time is acceptable.
13.  Provide guidelines for when a GAL appointment shall end.
14. Revise the wording of Section 5b to read "WILL" or "SHALL" in lieu of "MAY" as currently shown.
Only until such time that these amendments are made should Bill SB00494 be passed into law.
Thank you.
History Behind Bill SB00494
A previous peition was created to bring to the attention of the CT legislature the abuses by GAL's in the CT Family Court system.  Over 700 individuals signed that petition.  It can be found at the following link ...


Subsequently a Task Force was established to study in part the role of the Guardian Ad Litem in CT divorce cases.  This was long overdue.  Sadly the Task Force was set to fail as legislators placed two industry insiders as the co-chairs who made it very clear from the start that they did not consider GAL reform an issue.  This is evident in the tape recorded Task Force public hearings.

Despite the two co-chairs attempts to prevent it from occuring, on January 9, 2014 over 60 parents testified in a public hearing about the horrors occuring in the CT Family Court System in particular attention to the conduct of GAL's.  The video of their testimony has been viewed over 6000 times.  It can be found at the following link ....

The Task Force produced a report which did not address the concerns raised during the January 9 hearing by the Public.  However, a dissenting group within the Task Force whose views represented those of the many victimized parents, prepared a separate Minority Report.  This dissenting group was led by Rep. Minnie Gonzalez and Rep. Ed Vargas.

In response to the Task Force, the Judiciary Committee put forth proposed Bill SB 494.  However, the public only received 4 days notice to prepare for a public hearing on March 31, 2014.  Despite the short notice a large number of the public appeared and testified against Proposed Bill SB 494 as it does not go far enough to address their concerns.  The testimony from March 31, 2014 hearing can be viewed at the following link ...
You can sign my petition by clicking here.
Hector Morera

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


To watch the video of yesterday's hearing on the GAL Bill #494, please click on the link below:


Daniella Altimari of Capitol Watch reports on the Judiciary Committee's hearing on GAL wrongdoing in the remarks below,

"The legislature’s judiciary committee held a lengthy and often emotional public hearing on a bill that would make significant changes to the family court system.

Some parents say Connecticut’s family courts are in dire need of reform. In particular, they say the guardian ad litem system is “horribly broken.”

Guardians ad litem are sometimes appointed by judges to represent the interests of minor children in rancorous divorce cases. But some parents say the guardians have charged steep fees with little oversight and they are calling for an overhaul of the system."

For more information, please click on the link below:


Hugh McQuaid reports on last night's GAL hearing in the remarks below,
"Legislation changing how child custody cases are handled in Connecticut courts drew emotional testimony Monday from parents who feel wronged by the people the court assigns to represent their children.
The bill involves “guardians ad litem” who are assigned to represent the interest of minors in contentious custody battles. Last year, the legislature created a task force to study the system, which critics say lacks oversight and often leads to soaring legal expenses for parents. Some of the group’s recommendations were incorporated in the legislation, which allows parents to seek the removal of a guardian.
But some of the parents in the hearing room Monday said the bill does not go far enough because it does not create an oversight mechanism for GALs and it does not cap how much money they can earn working on individual cases."
For more information regarding this matter, please click on the link below:

Monday, March 31, 2014



By Elizabeth A. Richter

Thank you for allowing me to provide you with feedback in regard to Bill #494.

I want to thank the assembled Judiciary Committee for responding to the concerns people expressed on January 9, 2014  in regard to GAL/AMC abuse by proposing this bill.  I think it goes a long way towards improving the GAL/AMC system in terms of:

1.    Providing guidelines for the specific work GALs/AMCs will do and what will be the conditions of their employment.

2.    Protecting some of children’s assets from plunder by GALs/AMCs

3.    Allowing for a sliding scale when it comes to payment of GALs and AMCs

4.    Giving parties standing for challenging a bad GAL/AMC

5.    Producing an explanatory booklet in regard to the GAL/AMC system

What we still require are the following:

1.    In regard to Bill #494, Sec. 1, we need parameters for judges for making a determination as to when a GAL or AMC is needed.  We don’t need GALs or AMCs simply because there is a custody dispute as long as both parents are fit parents.  GALs and AMCs should only be appointed given a DCF determination of abuse or neglect.

2.    In regard to Section 1 (c) of Bill #494, there should be caps on GAL/AMC fees based upon income, and a determination of priorities in order of importance when it comes to tasks the GAL/AMC should be asked to do.  Not everyone has the ability to pay for full services, or wants to or needs to—parents should have a voice in regard to options when it comes to levels of engagement, or prioritizing of tasks in order to limit charges.  Some tasks may have to be left at the wayside because there is no money for them, and this is a reality many parents face.  While we may want to provide unique and specialized care to each family, the economic reality is that this is a luxury many parents cannot afford, nor should they always have it.

3.    In regard to Section #4 of Bill #494, we require specific guidelines regarding what GAL/AMC behaviors would justify a determination of fact that a professional has acted in such a manner as to warrant removal from his or her position.  Such guidelines might be, for example, any one of the following misbehaviors: 1) failing to meet sufficiently with the child client; 2) lying about facts in the case; 3) hiding evidence in the case; 5) failing to investigate charges of PAS or DV; 6. Bias in favor of one or the other party; 7. Providing legal advice to one or the other party. 8. Acting outside the scope of representation as defined by the Judge, etc.  Also, we need a definition of what level of severity of the wrongdoing of the complained about behavior—annoying all the way down the range to egregious--is necessary, and we need to know whether evidence must rise to that of clear and convincing evidence or simply the preponderance of the evidence.  The current lack of clarity in this bill could harm parties with legitimate grievances.

4.    There should be a tracking system included in this Bill requesting that the CT Judicial Branch make a notation of when a GAL or AMC is assigned in a case and for what reason, and also tracking how frequently these GALs or AMCs are removed from a case and for what reason. 

5.    There should be an evaluation system put into place to track good GALs and bad GALs in the form of evaluation forms provided to the parties so that they can give feedback to the CT Judicial Branch and the Judges at the end of a case in regard to which GALS and AMCs are succeeding and which are not.

6.    In regard to Sec. 6 requiring a publication describing the GAL/AMC system in the CT Judicial Branch, I request that one member of the public, and one non lawyer be assigned to the Committee writing that publication.

7.    GALs and AMCs should be required to comply with ADA Law under Title II and title III and should not be allowed to discriminate on the basis of disability and they should be required to provide Notice of their intention to comply with the  non-discrimination requirements of the ADA at the beginning of a case.

Thank you very much for your time.  Please approve Bill #494 with the appropriate changes that I have suggested.


Submitted By,


 Elizabeth A. Richter

P.O. Box 5

Canton, CT  06019


Sunday, March 30, 2014


Anyone that wants to submit written testimony (at the hearing tomorrow 3/31/14 at 10:00am) as "Anonymous" or Jane or John Doe and does not want to use their email account can send their testimony to Marisa at:

today or tonight or before 6am tomorrow to submit for them.

You can also testify orally as anonymous or Jane or John Doe. The videotape will only show the back of you not your face. I believe as that is how they ran it last time.