The largest banks in the nation are set to begin sending out checks to those who were wrongfully foreclosed on in 2009 and 2010. The amount of the checks will be between $300 and $125,000. The largest amounts are likely to go to military members who were foreclosed on while they were on duty. The payments are part of a settlement with federal agencies for wrongful practices such as faulty paperwork and robosigning, where documents were being notarized without the signor being present. The banks involved are Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, HSBC, MetLife Bank, PNC Financial Services, Sovereign, SunTrust, US Bank, Aurora, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs.
In the event of a family dispute involving children it is likely that a guardian ad litem will be appointed to represent, or advocate, for the interests of the children (the Ward). Such a situation can occur when parents are making accusations of abuse, or unfitness to take care of a child.
The guardian ad litem, once appointed by the court, will meet with each of the parents individually, with their attorneys if they have one, and discuss the outstanding issues and allegations. Generally, the guardian will allow a parties attorney to assist in presenting their case.
The guardian will then request documentation, such as witness statements, drug tests, and other relevant documentation and phone numbers and addresses. A party’s attorney can assist in obtaining this evidence to present to the guardian.
The guardian will then generally visit the child at school and discuss the issues with teachers and other support staff. The guardian may watch how the child functions and look for any social abnormalities which may indicate that there is a larger issue, such as abuse at home. The guardian will also generally interview the child, if the child is of an appropriate age.
The guardian will then visit the home or homes of the parents to observe how the child reacts with the parents together, if possible, and separately. The guardian will also observe the child’s play behavior generally.
Once the guardian has collected all evidence he or she deems necessary, a report will be prepared with recommendations for a judge or magistrate. Judges and magistrates tend to give great weight to the opinions and recommendations of guardians, as they are their eyes and ears on the street. As in many family law matters, the best interests of the children comes first.
61.401 Appointment of guardian ad litem.—In an action for dissolution of marriage or for the creation, approval, or modification of a parenting plan, if the court finds it is in the best interest of the child, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem to act as next friend of the child, investigator or evaluator, not as attorney or advocate. The court in its discretion may also appoint legal counsel for a child to act as attorney or advocate; however, the guardian and the legal counsel shall not be the same person. In such actions which involve an allegation of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect as defined in s. 39.01, which allegation is verified and determined by the court to be well-founded, the court shall appoint a guardian ad litem for the child. The guardian ad litem shall be a party to any judicial proceeding from the date of the appointment until the date of discharge.
History.—s. 1, ch. 90-226; s. 3, ch. 94-204; s. 123, ch. 98-403; s. 17, ch. 2008-61.
State of Florida Guardian Ad Litem Program Guidelines for Family Law Case Appointment, Fla. Stat. § 61.104