Guardian Ad Litem Definition

A person, not necessarily a lawyer, who is appointed by a court to represent and protect the interests of a child or an incapacitated adult during a lawsuit. For example, a minor who is a party to a lawsuit must have a guardian ad litem (often a parent) to act in the minor's behalf with regard to decisions like whether or not to take a settlement offer. A guardian ad litem (GAL) may also be appointed to represent a child whose parents are locked in a contentious battle for custody.