Defining Guardian Ad Litem

Under the law, guardianship is defined as a trust relation in which one person acts for another whom the law regards as incapable of managing his own affairs. .

Courts frequently appoint guardians ad litem to represent children’s interests in cases involving adoption, child custody, child support, divorce, emancipation of minors, and visitation rights. – Cornell

If a person is a minor or one judicially declared incompetent, then there is a need for the appointment of a guardian. The former shall be called as a ward and the latter as a guardian who shall have the full exercise of his civil rights.

When a guardian is appointed, the law requires him to post a bond which shall be conditioned for the protection of the property of the minor or incompetent to the end that he may be assured of an honest administration of his funds. As a ruled by the Supreme Court, the bond of the guardian is a continuing one against the obligors and their estates until all of its conditions are fulfilled. The mere fact that defendant was removed as guardian did not relieve her or her bondsmen from liability during the time she was duly acting as such guardian.                  

As a general rule, a person’s legal guardian is his mother or father. Both parents shall exercise legal guardianship over the person and property of their minor without the necessity of a court appointment.  However, there are instances wherein any of the parents may become incompetent to be appointed as a guardian. In such case, the judge of the Family court has the authority to appoint a guardian for the minor involved.

There are many types of guardians recognized under or jurisdiction. One of which is a guardian ad litem. As defined by the law, guardian ad litem refers to a person appointed by the court where the case is pending for a child sought to be committed to protect his interests. The said guardian will represent the minor in a case filed before the Family Court. It is an important requirement that all acts of the said guardian must be for the best interests of the minor and that none of his acts shall prejudice the ward.

If there is failure on the part of the guardian ad litem to perform his duties, he or she may be removed as a guardian. To make this happen, the party interested to remove the court-appointed guardian shall file the proper petition in court. He can do it personally or through the assistance of a lawyer.