I will appreciate greatly your opinion concerning the following, I was retained several months ago by a lady of advanced years, who resides in the State of Pennsy1vania, in connection with the following.
The lady’s daughter has been a chronic alcoholic and living in an illicit relationship with an irresponsible individual. With them lived a girl of about nine years of age, the granddaughter of the lady and the child of the daughter by a prior marriage. The grandmother, because the child was abused and neglected, obtained from the Family Court temporary custody but because she was in Pennsylvania and did not have proper accommodations there for the child, she placed her with her sister (great aunt of the child) in New Jersey.
I was retained to make sure that the child was not returned to the delinquent mother and to secure to the grandmother a permanent guardianship. It was also the purpose of the retainer to take such steps as may be advisable so that a substantial trust estate for the benefit of the delinquent mother and the little girl was not wasted through improvidence and other means.
In order to make certain that the child’s interests are fully protected, I enlisted the aid of the lady’s son, a substantial businessman in New York City, who repeatedly promised to cooperate both in connection with the permanent guardianship of the child and the proceedings to remove the trustees of the aforementioned trust and get a proper accounting and take other steps that may be necessary. However, in order not to be “involved the son suddenly decided he would have no pare of any proceeding, despite my pleas and those of his mother.
On the hearing in the Family Court it was agreed that the girl remain temporarily with her great aunt in New Jersey, Since then the grandmother has become very despondent and does not appear to be in condition to take any steps for the benefit of the child. The great aunt, to whom I wrote in order to ascertain whether she would appear in the necessary court proceedings in connection with the trust estate, has ignored my request. My problem therefore is as follows:
I am convinced as a result of my investigation and research that an appropriate action should be brought in respect to the trust estate so that the interests of the child be fully protected. It is impossible, however, to get the consent or cooperation of any of the aforementioned persons. Would it be ethical for me, under the circumstances, to ask the Court to appoint a guardian ad litem?
Under the stated circumstances, it would not be unethical for the attorney to bring the matter fully to the court’s attention by an application for the appointment of a guardian ad litem.