defining the role.207 While they did not address seeking a legal ethics opinion, that would be an
The Kentucky Supreme Court decided to address the issue directly,209 but despite the court’s
attempt to clarify the different roles that may be played by professionals in custody matters, the
roles were not clearly articulated in a manner easy for practitioners to understand. The chart
below summarizes the cases and rules addressed by the Kentucky Supreme Court in Morgan,
and attempts to make the roles clear so that the separate duties required of each appointed
individual are clear and based in law.
208 See, e.g., Virginia Ethics Opinion 1870 (addressing the issue of whether a party’s attorney or government
attorney may communicate directly with a child represented by a GAL) (“The GAL acts as an attorney and not a
witness, which means that he or she should not be cross-examined and, more importantly, should not testify, The
GAL should rely primarily on opening statements, presentation of evidence, and closing arguments to present salient
information the GAL feels the court needs to make its decisions. The role and responsibility of the GAL is to
represent, as an attorney, the child’s best interests before the court. The GAL is a full and active participant in the
proceedings who independently investigates, assesses and advocates for the child’s best interests. Decision-making
power resides with the court.”).