In South Carolina, the Guardian ad Litem (GAL) is the child's voice in court. The GAL may be an attorney or a certified trained non-attorney appointed by a family court judge to protect the interests of a child under the age of 18. When a child is the subject of a contested court action there may be many unanswered questions about the child's well-being. The family court judge may deem it necessary to have more information about the child's life. The court may appoint a guardian ad litem only when it determines that without a guardian ad litem, the court will likely not be fully informed about the facts of the case and there is a substantial dispute which necessitates a guardian ad litem; or both parties consent to the appointment of a guardian ad litem who is approved by the court. The court has absolute discretion in determining who will be appointed as a guardian ad litem in each case.