The family court will appoint a guardian ad litem to address the concerns of a minor child when there are issues before the court pertaining to a child’s well-being and best interests. Under the applicable statute, the family court’s appointment of a guardian ad litem is either MANDATORY or PERMISSIVE. Guardian ad litem appointments are mandatory when the court has reason to believe that a child is a victim of domestic child abuse or neglect. Such appointments are permissive when the family court judge or referee is desiring the assessment, report and recommendations of a guardian ad litem pertaining to a case.
In recent years, the guardian ad litem offices of the various courts in the Twin Cities metro area have been flooded with mandatory appointments and have, therefore, been largely unable to service permissive appointments. That is to say, even if a certain family court wishes to make a permissive appointment, the court will often have to opt against it because there are insufficient resources to provide services in permissive cases.