What is a Guardian ad Litem?

A Guardian ad Litem is a person with specifically required training who is assigned to a court case.  He or she serves as an advocate for a child when the child’s welfare is a matter of concern for the court. The phrase legally means “guardian of the lawsuit.”  Guardians ad Litem provide a voice for a child in court.

When a court needs to make decisions that are going to affect a child’s future, the child needs and deserves an adult to provide an objective, independent assessment of the best interests of the child.  While the parents and other parties in the case are concerned about the child, the Guardian ad Litem is the only person whose only concern is the best interests of the child.  He or she is assigned as an advocate for the child during the court case.

The Guardian ad Litem is not the child’s attorney or legal guardian.  The Guardian ad Litem provides the court with information about the child’s needs for services, such as therapy.  The work the Guardian ad Litem does includes:

  • Interviewing the child
  • Observing that child and significant people in their lives
  • Reviewing medical, school, therapy and criminal records and reports.
  • Attending meetings with the other professionals involved with the children and their families.
  • Making recommendations in court regarding the short and long term best interests of the children.
  • Monitoring court ordered plans to ensure the children’s best interests are being met.

Guardian ad Litem services are not free.  The fee parents are required to pay depends on the type of court case the Guardian ad Litem is assigned to.

Contact experienced family law attorney Jessica L. Sterle at (218) 722-2655 to schedule a consultation to discuss your divorce or custody case.

Jessica Sterle