Child settlements requiring a guardian ad litem in Florida can slow down the resolution of a case, however it is possible to have this requirement waived. In many child injury claims, it is within the court’s power to require a guardian ad litem to submit an opinion on the adequacy of a proposed settlement. While the intention of this rule is good, securing a GAL report may be redundant and can sometimes be avoided. Although Florida Statute section 744.3025(1)(b) provides that a guardian ad litem (GAL) is to be appointed when a minor’s settlement equals or exceeds $50,000.00, section 744.3025(1)(e) dispenses of the requirement if a guardian of the minor is appointed and the guardian has no potential adverse interest.
Because minor settlements netting more than $15,000.00 to the minor already require a guardian of the property (a different role than a GAL) to be appointed, the exception contained in section 744.3025(1)(e) is applicable more often than not. Section 744.3025(1)(e) reads as follows: “A court need not appoint a guardian ad litem for the minor if a guardian of the minor has previously been appointed and that guardian has no potential adverse interest to the minor. A court may appoint a guardian ad litem if the court believes a guardian ad litem is necessary to protect the interests of the minor.”
Thus, when a guardian of the property with no adverse interest to the minor is appointed to facilitate the settlement, the court may waive the requirement for a GAL.