Loring v. Carter
Even if the minor child who is the subject of a complicated custody dispute has received state assistance, a court can approve a guardian ad litem's request for a $4,000 retainer. The Juvenile Court in Waterford ordered the defendant, the paternal step-grandmother, to be the guardian of the minor child, Lily. The plaintiff paternal grandparents are the guardians of the child's older brother, William. In April 2013, the court ordered a family relations study and appointed a guardian ad litem. The guardian ad litem requested a $4,000 retainer and apparently intends to bill the parties at the rate of $225 per hour. The plaintiff paternal grandparents, who hired a private attorney, objected that the minor child has received state assistance and that C.G.S. §46b-62 provides, "If the child is receiving or has received state aid or care, the compensation of the attorney shall be established and paid by the Public Defender Services Commission." The court was not persuaded it should treat the plaintiff paternal grandparents as if they are indigent, for purposes of the guardian ad litem's expenses. "A $4,000 retainer for a complicated and potentially contentious custody dispute billed at the rate of $225 per hour," wrote the court, "is customary for attorneys in this judicial district." The court ordered the plaintiff paternal grandparents to pay $2,000 and the defendant paternal step-grandmother to pay $2,000 for the guardian ad litem's retainer.