Ad Litem

Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary

Definition: Ad Litem

Ad Litem

Quick Summary of Ad Litem

Ad Litem, also known as guardian ad litem, is a Latin term used to refer to the appointed person to protect the interests of a minor in a personal injury or divorce case.

What is the dictionary definition of Ad Litem?

Dictionary Definition

adj. legal Latin meaning “for the purposes of the legal action only.” Most often the term applies to a parent who files a lawsuit for his or her minor child as “guardian at litem” (guardian just for the purposes of the lawsuit) or for a person who is incompetent. Either at the time the lawsuit is filed or shortly thereafter, the parent petitions the court to allow him/her to be guardian ad litem, which is brought ex parte (without a noticed hearing) and is almost always granted. A person acting ad litem has the responsibility to pursue the lawsuit and to account for the money recovered for damages. If a child in such a lawsuit reaches majority (18 in most states) while the suit is pending, the ad litem guardianship terminates and the “new” adult can run his/her own lawsuit. Some courts require an order terminating the guardianship ad litem upon proof of coming of age.

Full Definition of Ad Litem

[Latin, For the suit; for the purposes of the suit; pending the suit.] A guardian ad litem is a guardian appointed to prosecute or defend a suit on behalf of a party who is legally incapable of doing so, such as an infant or an insane person.

For example, in a divorce case, the guardian ad litem (GAL) is a court-appointed person to protect the interests of a child while the custody and child support arrangements are decided. Generally, the GAL is a licensed therapist, social worker or lawyer who is appointed if the parents have been accused of child abuse, the divorce is highly contentious and the parents cannot agree on the long-term care of the child, or the parents request a guardian ad litem. Because the laws and regulations for getting a GAL vary from state to state if you need someone to help with issues for your children in a divorce you need to talk to a divorce lawyer.

Cite Term

To help you cite our definitions in your bibliography, here is the proper citation layout for the three major formatting styles, with all of the relevant information filled in.

Page URL
Modern Language Association (MLA):
Ad Litem. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd.
October 04, 2022
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):
Ad Litem. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. (accessed: October 04, 2022).
American Psychological Association (APA):
Ad Litem. Retrieved October 04, 2022
, from website:

Definition Sources

Definitions for Ad Litem are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 9th October, 2021 | 0 Views.