Penny R. Henderson
Counselor at Law
"If one is friendly by habit
And skillful in conduct,
One will have much delight
And bring an end to suffering."

Guardian Ad Litem

People going through a dissolution (divorce) are almost always at their very worst.  Sometimes their own issues make it difficult for them to really see what is best for their children.  Guardians ad Litem are appointed to advocate for the best interests of children to help the Court make decisions regarding residential placement (custody) and other issues affecting children.  My goal is to listen carefully to the parties (and children if they are old enough) and make compassionate and respectful recommendations.  

Guardians ad Litem are appointed by law in guardianship matters.  As in a dissolution matter, a Guardian ad Litem for an alleged incapacitated person  also advocates for the best interests of that person – not necessarily what they want, but what is in the person’s best interests.   The Court does not want to take away more rights than are necessary, so it is the Guardian ad Litem’s job to carefully consider each of the civil rights at stake and make recommendations that are the least restrictive. 

Probate, Personal Injury, Other
The Court can also appoint a Guardian ad Litem any time there is a question about competency or a legal conflict where parents cannot represent their children.  My appointments have ranged from representing the best interests of children or incompetent beneficiaries of an estate, minors involved in motor vehicle accidents, and questionably competent persons in protection order hearings and dissolutions. 

I have had the privilege and honor of being a Guardian ad Litem in Whatcom County since 1998.   My appointments exceed 150 cases.  It is my absolute belief that how we treat our children and elderly is an accurate indicator of how emotionally healthy we are as a society.