Guardian ad Litem and Attorney ad Litem
Guardians ad Litem and Attorneys ad Litem serve an important role representing the interests of children, in similar, but distinct ways.
Guardian ad Litem
A guardian ad litem, in Florida, is a court appointed representative tasked with acting as the "next friend" of the child with the purpose of representing, to the Court, the best interests of a child. A guardian ad litem is a third-party, impartial person appointed to investigate allegations made within pleadings or other factors that effect the best interests of a child and prepare a report for the parties and the Court, which includes a recommendation as to the child's best interest. Most often, the guardian ad litem will speak with all parties to the case (usually the mother and father), the child or children, and persons that have relevant information regarding the child or children, such as teachers, counselors, and other family members in order to recommend to the Court a solution in the best interests of a child.
Attorney Christie L. Mitchell provides guardian ad litem services in family law matters in Orange, Osceola, Seminole, and Lake County.
Attorney ad Litem
An attorney ad litem is a court-appointed lawyer who represents a child's legal interests (which might not be the same as the attorney's opinion related to the child's best interests). The attorney owes to the child the duties of loyalty and confidentiality, and must advocate for what a child wants. Although seldom appointed in family law proceedings, an attorney ad litem sometimes become necessary.