Term: Guardian Ad Litem

Hands of Hope Blog

“The key to success is to take something that is complex; something filled with complexity, and turn it around and reduce it down to simplicity.” –John Maxwell

Want to know my first thought after hearing that?

What better way to illustrate this concept than to use it with an adoption term involving ancient Latin terminology!

I know, I know.
I’m a nerd.
But’s let’s just go with it for today; in fact, let’s do it up interview style just for kicks!

Alrighty, so, here’s today’s term:
Guardian Ad Litem

Question 1:
What exactly is a “Guardian Ad Litem”?

A Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) is an individual appointed by the court whose purpose is to determine what course of action would be in the best interest of the child during a court proceeding.

Question 2:
Why is a Guardian Ad Litem appointed?

Cases in which a GAL would be utilized are those in which the legal interests of a minor child and those of his/her parents are contradictory. A GAL is appointed as a sort of mediating third party.

Question 3:
Why “Ad Litem”? What does it actually mean?

The Latin phrase “ad litem” literally means “for the suit”. So basically, the addition of the phrase “ad litem” serves to define the duration of the GAL’s responsibilities. The person acting as GAL is only given his/her legal protective status over the child during that individual court case.