ad litem

The Role of an Ad Litem in a Custody Case

 Ad litem in a Texas Family Law case is unfortunately not a commonly discussed topic. You could be reading articles and finding information about child support, child custody, property division and many other common issues related to Texas family law. However, finding information about the Ad Litem in a Texas Family Law case is pretty are. In fact, not everyone knows what ad litem means in a Texas divorce. Many people have not even heard of ad litem in a Texas family law case.

The other issues that are commonly discussed are probably more common, but ad litem issues can also be pertinent in some cases. Ad litem representatives can be appointed to your case. What would this mean and how would the appointment of ad litem representatives affect your case? Let’s explore how ad litem can affect your life and the lives of your family members.


Ad Litem in a Texas Family Law Case


Ad litem can have many different meanings and it can be used in many different contexts. However, Ad litem in a Texas family law case usually refers to someone appointed by the judge to protect the interests if a child or someone involved in the case. The appointment of an ad litem in a Texas family law case can either be motioned by the judge or requested by a party involved in the lawsuit. Usually, the ad litem ends up representing the children, but this is not something that happens every single time. An ad litem can also represent a mentally unstable person who cannot understand the court proceedings by themselves. Basically, an ad litem representative works with an involved party who cannot fend off for themselves in court.

One common scenario where you are likely to find an ad litem attorney is in CPS cases. An example would be when a parent does not answer a legal case that involves him or her. The parent could be considered missing and it would be the ad litem representative’s responsibility to find the missing parent. An ad litem representative in a Texas family law case would try to locate and inform the missing parent regarding the lawsuit. If the parent really cannot be found, the ad litem representative will inform the judge about it.


The Difference Between Amicus Attorneys and Ad Litem Attorneys

Amicus attorneys and ad litem attorneys have pretty similar job descriptions that sometimes it can be confusing to differentiate one from the other. Both amicus and ad litem attorneys function in almost the same manner. However, an amicus attorney is more like the eyes and ears of the court. This is because the amicus attorney interviews the parties involved in the case and all other relevant people. He or she will then report to the judge their opinion of what they have seen or heard. The judge will then make a decision for the best interest of the child or children involved in the case. The amicus attorney’s goal is to assist the court in all possible ways. This means that the amicus attorney will not work with a child or a party involved in the family law case. He or she is a third-party who will assist the judge in making a decision about the case.

On the other hand, the ad litem in a Texas family law case will work as a representative of one of the parties in the case. He or she will not work for the court, but instead for one of the parties involved in the case. The ad litem representative may be appointed by the court, but he or she will not work as the eyes and ears of the court. Although the ad litem representative can report certain issues to the judge, his or her main role lies in representing the child or one party in the family law case.  


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Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas. If you have any questions you can contact him at

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