An alarming number of Minnesota children face neglect or abuse. Unable to advocate for themselves, these children may be forced to suffer in silence. The Minnesota Guardian ad Litem Program aims to address this problem by ensuring that the best interests of vulnerable children are represented in court. Keep reading to learn more about this influential program — and its impact on child custody and parenting time.

Guardian ad Litem: The Basics

The term ‘Guardian ad Litem’ essentially means ‘guardian of the lawsuit.’ This individual is charged with advocating on behalf of children when matters involving their welfare are negotiated in court. In short, the Guardian ad Litem acts as a court-based spokesperson for children in need of advocacy. This person’s sole consideration involves the best interests of the child.

To ensure accurate feedback, Guardians ad Litem conduct thorough interviews with not only the children they serve, but also with a variety of people who may hold influence in the lives of those children. This information is then compiled in a recommendation for the court. While Guardians ad Litem are not responsible for the final decision, they can hold significant sway over local judges.

How Does a Guardian ad Litem Differ From a Legal Guardian?

A Guardian ad Litem is not a legal guardian. While the Guardian ad Litem provides useful advocacy in court, his or her role ends there. This individual is not responsible for providing the child a home or handling the child’s general property or care.

The experts at the Brown Law Offices understand all aspects of child custody and parenting time in Minnesota — including the crucial role Guardians ad Litem can play in family matters. Contact us at your earliest convenience to learn more.

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Photo of Cynthia J. Brown Cynthia J. Brown

“Some lawyers play a lot of games. That’s not my approach. There is a lot of gray area in the law, but I try to keep things relatively straightforward for my clients. That way, we can all focus on what’s really important: getting…

“Some lawyers play a lot of games. That’s not my approach. There is a lot of gray area in the law, but I try to keep things relatively straightforward for my clients. That way, we can all focus on what’s really important: getting matters settled fairly and cost-effectively. We’re certainly ready to litigate, but favor empowering clients to control the outcome of their case.”

Cynthia is a founding partner with the Brown Law Offices, P.A. She is a graduate of the University of South Dakota and William Mitchell College of Law. She publishes extensively on divorce and family law issues.

Cynthia Brown was admitted to practice in 1998. After graduating from law school, Cynthia served as the law clerk to the Honorable Timothy R. Bloomquist, retired Chief Judge of Minnesota’s Tenth Judicial District. Upon completing her clerkship, Cynthia practiced family law with a well-known firm in Cambridge, Minnesota. She founded the Brown Law Offices, P.A., in 2003.

Early in her career, Cynthia served as a prosecutor and public defender. In the last decade, however, Cynthia’s practice has focused primarily on family law. She has handled a wide variety of matters throughout the Twin Cities, and greater Minnesota, including divorce, custody, child support, alimony, paternity, step-parent adoption, harassment and grandparent rights.

Cynthia publishes extensively on divorce and family law issues. She is a contributing author to the Family Law Forum, the quarterly publication of the Family Law Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association. Cynthia also writes a bi-monthly family law column for the Minnesota Lawyer newspaper, and monthly articles for Divorce Magazine.

Cynthia obtained her Bachelor’s Degree, magna cum laude, from the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, and her Juris Doctorate from the William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul.

Cynthia founded the Amigos de Guatemala Foundation in 2007. She is a former Board Member and President of the Foundation, which provided educational, health and financial resources to underprivileged Guatemalan citizens. Her interest in serving the impoverished began with a medical mission trip to Honduras in 1994.

When she is not practicing law, Cynthia enjoys scrap-booking, soap-making, beading and spending time with family. She and her husband, Jason, also an attorney, have two children.