A guardian ad litem is a person appointed by the court to stand in the shoes of a minor in a court proceeding in which the minor has some interest. The court can also appoint a guardian ad litem for an adult who isn't able to make decisions alone. Often, the guardian ad litem is a parent, close relative, or attorney. Some states also authorize the appointment of a guardian ad litem to represent a child's interests in a divorce case that involves custody issues.
If a guardian ad litem is not an attorney, the minor or disabled adult is frequently represented by an attorney as well.