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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 law firm of Barna, Guzy & Steffen, Ltd. 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.