What does the term "Guardian Ad Litem" mean?

It is a legal term meaning guardian for the lawsuit. A guardian ad litem is not the same as a legal guardian.

The Guardian ad Litem (GAL) has no control over the person or property of the child and does not provide a home for the child. The GAL is an advocate for the child's best interest. The GAL does not function as the child's attorney and does not provide direct social services for the child.

What are the duties of the guardian ad litem?


  1. What has happened to the child
  2. The current needs and circumstances of the child


  1. What the child needs to be safe
  2. What treatment plans should be ordered for the child/family
  3. What permanent resolution is the in the best interest of the child


  1. What services are being provided
  2. What progress is being made by the parents
  3. What other issues need to be addressed
  4. According to federal and Minnesota state law, all children whose parents may have abused or neglected them must have a guardian ad litem
  5. A child might also need a guardian ad litem if someone other than the child's parents (such as a relative) wants custody of the child

Mr. Garelick has been a Guardian ad Litem since 2002. He has wide experience in dealing with the problems of children and familes in this situation. He is available as a private Guardian ad Litem or as a represent of Hennepin County Court 4 th Judicial.