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

Cynthia Brown is a founding shareholder with the Brown Law Offices, P.A., a northwest Twin Cities divorce and family law firm. She is an honors graduate of the University of South Dakota and William Mitchell College of Law. Cynthia’s practice focuses almost exclusively on divorce and family law issues. She publishes a monthly family law column for the Minnesota Lawyer newspaper, and has contributed to Divorce Magazine and The Family Law Forum. Cynthia also serves as a panel attorney for the Anoka County Family Law Clinic.