Generally, once your case is nearing the settlement phase of litigation, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the interests of your child. The law in Texas requires the appointment of a guardian ad litem only if there is a potential conflict of interest between parent and child. This means if any portion of the settlement proceeds could go directly to the parents, an ad litem will be appointed. This appointment is just another legal mechanism to ensure your child is receiving a fair and reasonable settlement for their injury.
A Guardian Ad Litem serves to assist and protect the interest of your child by making informed and unbiased decisions concerning your child’s lawsuit. An ad litem has two main functions that is 1) to gather data; and, 2) to ensure the child’s interests are being protected. The ad litem appointed to your case is not an attorney for your child, but is an officer appointed by the court to carry out these functions. The court appoints an ad litem to ensure that your attorneys represented your claims as well as your child’s claims equally and that any settlements are structured to benefit your child.
Once an ad litem gets appointed to your case, they will begin to collect information surrounding the lawsuit. The ad litem will investigate your claims, the facts of the lawsuit, and the Defendant’s claims. This will help the ad litem to evaluate the case and determine if the settlement is a reasonable one.
The ad litem will also ensure that the settlement agreement is structured best for the child. There are many different ways in which a settlement agreement can be structured. Depending on the facts and circumstances of your case one option may be better than another. The ad litem will assist us to ensure that the structure of your settlement will serve the long-term needs of you and your child.
The ad litem’s fee will not be paid out of your settlement agreement. Texas law is clear that the losing party of a lawsuit, or in the case of a settlement agreement, the Defendant will pay the reasonable costs associated with an ad litem.
Guardian Ad Litems serve an important role in the civil justice system. These appointed officers of the court ensure that your attorney has obtained maximum value for your child’s cases. The Ad Litem will also provide valuable insight on how to best structure your settlement to ensure that your child’s specific needs are addressed. The attorneys here at The Talaska Law Firm have a stellar reputation among ad litems in providing top-notch representation to do everything we can to obtain a fair and reasonable settlement and resolution for your child. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a free consultation, please call our office at 713-869-1240 or fill out our contact form.