Ad Litem is a probate term derived from Latin words; “for the suit”. In law, it’s simply described as the act of appointing someone, an attorney to represent or litigation on behalf of a claimant or defendant.
In Ad Litem, The person being represented is often incapable of funding their legal proceedings. It could be a child, a minor, or an incapacitated adult.
The attorney here is referred to as “Guardian Ad Litem”. They are responsible for visiting a protected person to explain the process regarding their lawsuit.
Also, The attorney will help the protected person to determine their wishes. Then, go ahead to file a report at the court following what the protected person wants.
We will address most of the important things you need to know about Ad Litem.
Why is Ad Litem important?
Ad Litem is important because:
- Children are supported to have their voices heard in some legal proceedings.
- It protects and independently assessed the interests of individuals who are incapable of doing so for themselves
How is Ad Litem structured?
When developing an Ad Litem recommendation, attorneys will have to consider going through some legal procedures.
First, a thorough investigation will be carried out to come up with opinions and suggestions. Further, the Guardian Ad Litem steps in to facilitate, advocate, and supervise the rest of the protected person’s case.
Ad Litem is different from an Amicus Curiae. Amicus Curiae proceedings are usually limited family law cases. Here, the attorney is expected to assist the court in protecting a person’s interests. Whereas in Ad Litem, the attorney serves just the protected person – helping them seek justice wherever possible.
Lifespan Of Ad Litem
Court cases that require a Guardian Ad Litem are expected to last between 90 to 120 days. However, the case can last beyond these numbers as long as long investigation processes are still ongoing.
How is Ad Litem used?
In Ad Litem, the attorney or guardian in charge seeks to:
- Speak with and advise the child
- Present their discoveries to the court
- Recommend the order of placement to the court
- Ask for further evaluations ( if it’s necessary)
- Complete several duties the court has requested
History Of Ad Litem
The General Assembly established Guardian Ad Litem in 1983 in the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts. They completed the 1983 mandate in 1994 to host a Guardian Ad Litem program in every judicial district.
The GAL program had volunteers and staff existing in all of the judicial districts (about 39 of them).
Then in 2000, the GAL created a manual. This manual was designed to encourage attorneys in the program to engage in the best practices.
In 2018, the GAL marked its 35 years of advocacy.
Synonyms for Guardian Ad Litem
Other words that can be used to qualify Ad Litem are:
- Ad hoc
- Attorney Ad Litem
- Reporting officer, etc
Frequently Asked Questions About Ad Litem
Who is a Guardian Ad Litem?
Do judges often listen to Ad Litem judges?
The Guardian Ad Litem has an opportunity to investigate, give a report, ask questions, and discuss their findings.
What is classified as the best interest of the child?
What a Guardian Ad Litem cannot do
For instance, they are not able to knowingly establish communication with a party who is represented by another counsel. They cannot also offer wrong or false evidence.
Are witnesses allowed during the Ad Litem proceedings?
Also, the Guardian Ad Litem can testify based on proofs from other sources during the investigation.