Q & A: What is a Guardian Ad Litem and what do they do?

A Guardian Ad Litem is a neutral person appointed by the court. They are appointed for the purpose of the court case and act on behalf of a person not able to take legal action, like a child. For example, a Guardian Ad Litem would be involved throughout all stages of a Paternity Adjudication to advise the court about what is best for the child.

In family and juvenile court, a Guardian Ad Litem advises the court about what is in the best interest of the child regarding custody and parenting time during a case. The Guardian Ad Litem does not have custody. A Guardian Ad Litem should make an independent investigation about what’s best for the child and write a report.

The parties may be asked to pay the costs of a Guardian Ad Litem. However, if you are low-income or represented by legal aid, you may not have to pay any Guardian Ad Litem costs. If either parent is a minor, the court will appoint a Guardian Ad Litem for that parent. In this situation the court usually appoints a relative such as the parent of that minor.

Click here for more information on the Best Interests of the Child.