In Tennessee, Guardians are usually attorneys and are either paid directly by the parties or are paid by the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), if the parties have been declared indigent. The child is the client of the Guardian ad Litem, and unless the child is too young or is severely mentally disabled, meeting with the child is one of the first steps a Guardian needs to take.
Being a Guardian ad Litem is a difficult job because custody and abuse and neglect cases are very complex. There are many factors to consider in determining what is in the child's best interests. It is very rare that one parent is totally in the right and the other is totally in the wrong. The Guardian must review records, interview parties, and perform a careful weighing of statutory factors under T.C.A. Section 36-6-106, amongst others.
In addition, the Court often appoints a Guardian ad Litem in cases in which litigation has been lengthy and acromonius. These type of cases are never good for children.