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Role of the Guardian ad Litem (GAL)

Juvenile Court Family Court
A GAL is appointed under Minn. Stat. § 260C.163 in cases alleging abuse or neglect. A GAL is appointed under Minn. Stat. § 518.165 in cases involving disputes over custody or parenting time.

While the case types vary, the role of the GAL is basically the same regardless of case type.  The statutes provide five primary responsibilities for the GAL:

  1. Conduct an independent investigation to determine the facts relevant to the situation of the child and the family; 

  2. Advocate for the child's best interests;

  3. Maintain the confidentiality of information related to the case, with the exception of sharing information as permitted by law 

  4. Monitor the child's best interests throughout the judicial proceeding; and

  5. Present written reports on the child's best interests that include conclusions and recommendations and the facts upon which they are based. 

    Juvenile Court reports include: Pre-Permanency,  Post Permanency,  and Adoption

The role of the GAL is also governed by the Rules of Guardian Ad Litem Procedure in Juvenile and Family Court, which are part of the General Rules of Practice for the District Courts.   

In addition, the GAL Board has adopted Requirements and Guidelines (Non-statutory) that also apply to the role of the GAL.

Other Rules of Court may apply to the role of the GAL in certain cases.  These may be found on Minnesota Judicial Branch Rules of Court Web site.

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