Ohio Guardian ad Litem Rule Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Rule 48 of the Rules of Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio (Sup.R. 48) sets standards regarding the appointment, responsibilities, training and report requirements of guardians ad litem (GAL) and for the responsibilities of appointing courts. The rule, which became effective March 1, 2009, applies in all domestic relations and juvenile cases in common pleas courts where the court appoints a guardian ad litem to protect and act in the best interest of a child. Sup.R. 48, Division (A). 

The answers on this FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page may quote or paraphrase the language of Sup. R. 48.  The language of the Rule is controlling. Citations to Sup.R. 48 are provided with each answer and in the paragraph above.

  1. Text of Sup.R. 48 as adopted by the Supreme Court of Ohio
  2. Who should attend?
  3. How do I qualify for appointment as a GAL?
  4. What are the mandatory education requirements for GALs under Sup.R. 48, as amended Jan. 1, 2021?
  5. Who do I contact with specific questions regarding my compliance with education requirements? For instance, if I failed to complete six hours of GAL continuing education last year?
  6. Is there tuition to attend the Guardian ad Litem Judicial College courses?
  7. Do I get full credit for a GAL course if I am late or leave early?
  8. When and how do I get my Certificate of Completion after attending a course?
  9. Are CLE credits given at Supreme Court of Ohio Judicial College GAL courses?
  10. May I take a course offered by a provider other than the Supreme Court of Ohio or Ohio CASA/GAL Association to meet the education requirements of Sup.R. 48?
  11. I take courses through the Ohio Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). Am I also required to take the Supreme Court training?
  12. Are both attorney and non-attorney GALs required to take the training?
  13. I have taken a GAL course in the past. Will it meet the requirements of Sup.R. 48?
  14. How will I know if I'm confirmed for a Supreme Court of Ohio Judicial College course for which I registered?
  15. How do I cancel my registration for a Supreme Court of Ohio Judicial College course?
  16. Whom should I call with questions about the Supreme Court of Ohio Judicial College’s GAL education courses?

1. Text of Sup.R. 48 as adopted by the Supreme Court of Ohio.

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2. Who should attend?

Pre-Service Course: Attorneys and other professionals interested in being appointed as GALs in local courts should attend this course. Courts vary in standards and processes for appointing guardians. Become familiar with procedures in your local courts before attending this course. While this course satisfies the six-hour live course requirement, local courts manage GAL appointments. Individuals who were currently serving as a GAL on January 1, 2021 are exempt from taking the twelve hour Pre-service.

All Other GAL Courses: Attorney and non-attorney guardians ad litem who have successfully completed a pre-service course may attend any Judicial College GAL course free of charge.

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3. How do I qualify for appointment as a GAL?

First you should contact the local court(s) in the counties where you plan to practice as a GAL to determine if there is a need for additional GALs as well as the court’s application process. Responsibilities of the court with regard to GALs appear in Rule 48.07, and the rule allows courts to design their own application processes.

When you are familiar with the expectations of your local court(s), you must also complete the mandatory education requirements (below).

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4. What are the mandatory education requirements for GAL under Sup.R. 48, as amended Jan. 1, 2021?

New GALs shall complete twelve hours of education provided by the Supreme Court, Ohio CASA, or with the court’s approval, another provider. If you opt to get your education from the Supreme Court, you should begin with a six hour GAL Pre-Service course, which will be offered by webinar throughout 2021. New GALs may select from any of our online or live webinar GAL courses to obtain the remaining six hours.

Current GALs shall complete six hours of continuing education each year. The Supreme Court of Ohio Judicial College offers a variety of courses, as do other providers such as CASA and local courts around the state.

*Pursuant to 12/16/2020 Administrative Actions, 2020-Ohio-6725, the provisions that require GALs to be “physically present” for education is waived for 2021.

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5. Who do I contact with specific questions regarding my compliance with education requirements? For instance, if I failed to complete six hours of GAL continuing education last year?

While the Judicial College sponsors & delivers guardian ad litem education, local courts determine compliance under Rule 48. Please contact the court(s) in which you serve to inquire about local practices as well as interpretation or application of Rule 48.

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6. Is there tuition to attend the Guardian ad Litem Judicial College courses?

The courses are offered free of charge to students. Individuals who are not interested in serving as guardians ad litem should not attend.

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7. Do I get full credit for a GAL course if I am late or leave early?

If you arrive late or leave a GAL course early, the duration of your partial attendance will be noted on your certificate.

You will receive CLE credit for the amount of time you attend.

The Pre-Service Education provisions under Sup.R. 48.04(B) require six hours of pre-service education be obtained via a live education program. Participants must attend the full training to receive a full certificate of completion.

The Continuing Education provisions under Rule 48.05 permit GALs to attend several courses to accumulate the six hours required annually.

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8. When and how do I get my Certificate of Completion after attending a course?

Your Certificate of Completion will be available in your OhioCourtEDU account within 7 business days after the course. Log in to OhioCourtEDU and select Help, then Access Certificates for a guide on accessing your certificate. If you did not attend the entire course (e.g. late arrival or left early), your Certificate will be marked with partial credit only and you will need to retake the course to meet the education requirement under Rule 48.

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9. Are CLE credits given at Supreme Court of Ohio Judicial College GAL courses?

The GAL courses offered by the Supreme Court of Ohio are designed to meet requirements of the Commission on Continuing Legal Education for continuing legal education credit hours for attorneys.

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10. May I take a course offered by a provider other than the Supreme Court of Ohio or Ohio CASA/GAL Association to meet the education requirements of Sup. R. 48?

Sup.R. 48.04(A) provides, "A guardian ad litem shall complete pre-service education provided by the Supreme Court, the Ohio Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Guardian ad Litem Association, or with the approval of the appointing court, another provider." (Emphasis added).

Please note that The Supreme Court of Ohio Judicial College does not approve or pre-approve courses from other providers as in compliance with Sup.R. 48. Requests to do so cannot be accommodated.

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11. I take courses through the Ohio Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). Am I required to also take the Supreme Court training?

No. The Ohio CASA/GAL Association education program meets the standards for pre-service and continuing education under Rule 48.

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12. Are both attorney and non-attorney GALs required to take the training?

Sup.R. 48.04 requires all guardians ad litem appointed in juvenile and domestic relations courts to comply with the education requirements without distinction based on profession.

All prospective GALs should become familiar with processes of the local court where you hope to serve before attending the training. Appointment criteria for GALs differ from county to county.

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13. I have taken a GAL course in the past. Will it meet the requirements of Sup.R. 48?

Sup.R. 48.04(C) states, "An individual who is currently serving as a guardian ad litem on Jan. 1, 2021, shall be deemed compliant with the pre-service education and not be required to complete the twelve hours of pre-service education.."

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14. How will I know if I’m confirmed for a Supreme Court of Ohio Judicial College course for which I registered?

You will receive an email confirmation upon registration. You may also log in to OhioCourtEDU and select Learning, then My Courses.

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15. How do I cancel my registration for a Supreme Court of Ohio Judicial College course?

To cancel your registration, log in to OhioCourtEDU. Select Learning, then My Courses. Locate the course and select Withdraw. If you cannot attend the course, you MUST notify us three days prior to the course. Late cancellations and “no shows” are still costs incurred by the Supreme Court and will cause other GALs to be closed out due to space limitations.

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16. Whom should I call with questions about the Supreme Court of Ohio Judicial College’s GAL education courses?

OhioCourtEDU@sc.ohio.gov or Tel. 614.387.9445.

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