What is an Attorney Ad Litem?
What does an attorney ad litem do?
What’s important to know?
In this article, I will break down the meaning of Attorney Ad Litem so you know all there is to know about it!
Keep reading as we have gathered exactly the information that you need!
Let me explain to you what is an attorney ad litem and why it’s important!
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Let’s get started!
What Is An Attorney Ad Litem
An attorney ad litem is a lawyer appointed by the court to represent a child in family law legal proceedings.
As the representative of the child, the attorney ad litem has the obligation to represent the child in a legally competent manner the same way that an attorney would represent a typical client.
Furthermore, the ad litem attorney owes the minor child duties of loyalty and confidentiality.
An attorney ad litem for child is typically appointed by the court in cases such as:
- Custody disputes
- Divorce cases
- Child-abuse cases
- Other family law cases involving minor children
Now, let’s look at the attorney ad litem definition and dig deeper into what they do.
Attorney Ad Litem Definition
How do you define attorney ad litem?
Here is a proper definition of attorney ad litem:
An attorney ad litem is a court-appointed lawyer who represents a child during the course of a legal action, such as a divorce, termination, or child-abuse case.
As you can see, an “attorney ad litem” is defined as:
- A person being an attorney
- Appointed by the court
- In lawsuits
- To represent an individual like a child
What Does An Attorney Ad Litem Do
An attorney ad litem is a court-appointed attorney that is mandated to represent the interest of a child.
What does an attorney ad litem do when he or she is appointed by the court?
Here is a quick list of legal services an ad litem lawyer will render:
- Interview the minor child
- Interview individuals who know the child’s history
- Interview parties to the family lawsuit
- Attempt to understand the child’s objectives and desires
- Investigate the facts underlying the family lawsuit
- Review various reports and records relating to the child
- Represent the child in court proceedings
How To Ask For An Attorney Ad Litem
Ad litem attorneys are mandated by the court to represent a child or incapacitated person.
As such, the courts will typically have a list of qualified ad litem attorneys to serve in such capacity in a given lawsuit.
In cases where the state requests the termination of a parent’s relationship with a child, the appointment of an attorney ad litem is generally mandatory (so you won’t need to ask for it).
However, in other cases, the appointment of an ad litem attorney is discretionary and so any party to the case can file a motion seeking the appointment of an attorney to a child.
Who Pays For Attorney Ad Litem
The answer to this question will depend on your jurisdiction.
In some instances, the government can fund the fees of an attorney ad litem while in other cases it will not.
For example, further to the Texas Family Code, the state will fund the legal representation of indigent parties involved in a lawsuit where the government is seeking termination of a parent-child relationship.
However, the parties will need to assume the fees for all other types of ad litem attorney appointments.
When the parties have to assume the fees of the ad litem attorney appointed, the court will assess the parties’ ability to pay and will consider other factors like the cost of alternative methods for resolving the dispute.
Attorney Ad Litem vs Guardian Ad Litem
What is the difference between an attorney ad litem and a guardian ad litem?
In essence, an attorney ad litem is a “lawyer” or “attorney” who is appointed by the court to represent a minor child in legal proceedings.
A guardian ad litem is also a court-appointed individual who is requested to represent the best interest of the minor child.
Fundamentally, the attorney represents a child representing to the court what the child wants whereas a guardian is an individual, not necessarily an attorney, who must make recommendations as to what’s best for a child.
Attorney Ad Litem vs Amicus Attorney
What is the difference between attorney ad litem and amicus attorney?
In essence, an attorney ad litem represents the interests of a child or incapacitated person.
In this capacity, the ad litem attorney will provide legal services to the client he or she is mandated to represent before the court.
On the other hand, an amicus attorney is an attorney that is mandated to provide legal services to the court.
In this capacity, the amicus attorney will provide recommendations and assistance to the court on specifically defined issues.
Ad Litem Attorney Takeaways
So there you have it folks!
What does attorney ad litem mean?
Typically, in divorce cases involving minor children and where there’s a custody decision to be made by the court, an attorney ad litem may be appointed to represent the child’s interests.
Now that you know the meaning of attorney ad litem, how it works, and why it’s important, good luck with your legal case or investigation.
Let’s look at a summary of our findings.
Understanding Attorney Ad Litem
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