This answer is written by AI. The information provided in this response is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice. Do not rely solely on the information provided in this response for any legal decisions. Consult with a qualified legal professional before making any decisions.

Can Parents Challenge GAL Fee Responsibility?

Question from Linda, Can Parents Challenge GAL Fee Responsibility?

Answer from AI:

When a court in North Carolina declares an adult individual legally incompetent and appoints guardians, the guardianship comes with various responsibilities. One such responsibility may include the payment of fees for the Guardian ad Litem (GAL), who is appointed to represent the best interests of the individual during the legal proceedings. If the court has ordered that the GAL fees be reimbursed by the adult individual, and the parents (as legal guardians) are directed to make the payment, they may have concerns about this financial obligation, especially if the individual is indigent.

Potential Consequences of Filing a Motion to Reconsider

Filing a motion to reconsider the clerk’s ruling regarding the taxation of GAL fees is a legal right that the parents have. However, they should be aware of the potential consequences:

  • Legal Costs: Engaging in further legal proceedings may incur additional costs, including attorney fees and court costs.
  • Time and Effort: The process of filing a motion and potentially going through another hearing can be time-consuming and emotionally taxing.
  • Relationship with the Court: While it is within their rights to file a motion, the parents should consider how this action might affect their relationship with the court and the GAL. It is important to approach the situation respectfully and professionally.
  • Outcome Uncertainty: There is no guarantee that the motion to reconsider will result in a favorable outcome for the parents. The court may uphold its original decision.

Seeking to Shift Responsibility to the Office of Indigent Defense Services

The parents may argue that the responsibility for the GAL fees should be shifted to the Office of Indigent Defense Services if the adult individual is indigent. This argument would be based on the premise that indigent individuals are entitled to certain legal services at the expense of the state.

Steps to Take

  1. Consult with an Attorney: Before taking any action, it is advisable for the parents to consult with an attorney who has experience in guardianship and indigent defense matters. An attorney can provide guidance on the likelihood of success and the best way to proceed.
  2. Review the Law: Understanding the relevant laws and regulations regarding the payment of GAL fees and the support for indigent individuals is crucial. This includes reviewing the North Carolina General Statutes and any applicable case law.
  3. Prepare the Motion: If the parents decide to proceed, they will need to prepare a motion to reconsider, outlining their arguments and providing evidence of the individual’s indigent status.
  4. File the Motion: The motion must be filed with the court that issued the original order, following the proper legal procedures.
  5. Attend the Hearing: If the court schedules a hearing, the parents will have the opportunity to present their case. They should be prepared to answer questions and provide additional information as requested by the court.


While the parents have the right to file a motion to reconsider the clerk’s ruling, they should weigh the potential consequences and consult with an attorney to understand their legal options. It is important to follow the correct legal procedures and to present a well-reasoned argument to the court. Legal advice is necessary to navigate this complex situation, and the parents should seek personalized guidance from a legal professional.

Note: This information is not legal advice but is provided for general informational purposes. Laws and procedures can vary by jurisdiction and may change over time. Always consult with a qualified attorney for legal advice specific to your situation.

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