What Is An Attorney Ad Litem In Texas?

If you need to speak to a Houston Divorce Lawyer, call (832) 410-8935, we offer free consultations over the phone to most clients.

Who is an Attorney ad Litem?

When dealing with some court proceedings, the appointment of an “attorney ad litem” might be necessary.

The Texas Family Code defines and attorney ad litem as “an attorney who provides legal services to a person, including a child, and who owes to the person the duties of undivided loyalty, confidentiality, and competent representation”. (Texas Family Code Annotated §107.001(2)).

In short, the attorney ad litem is appointed by the court to represent and advocate on behalf of a ward, or proposed ward in a legal proceeding. It is important to note that the attorney ad litem is different than the guardian ad litem – the attorney protects the legal interests of the ward or proposed ward, while a guardian ad litem does not interfere in the ward or proposed ward’s legal interests, but will encourage for the “best interest” of the Ward or proposed Ward.

When is an Attorney ad Litem be appointed?

An attorney ad litem is appointed by the court in the following proceedings: Guardianship proceedings, Heirship Proceedings, Family Law Cases.

Guardianship Proceedings

A guardianship proceeding is a proceeding that involves a Ward or proposed Ward’s person or property. Texas law allows a probate judge to appoint an attorney ad litem to represent the legal interest of a Ward or proposed Ward of an estate or person. This is different than a guardian ad litem in such matters, in which the guardian ad litem will represent the “best interest” of the Ward or proposed Ward.

Heirship Proceedings

Often times, an attorney ad litem is appointed in an heirship proceeding. An Heirship proceeding is a proceeding that takes place in the probate court in which the court determines the estate’s rightful heirs and in which the assets of a deceased individual are distributed. In an heirship proceeding, it is monumental that the entire estate is divided to the its rightful heirs. In instances in which potential heirs are incapacitated, underage, or missing, the probate judge will likely appoint an attorney ad litem to represent their interest.

Family Law Proceedings

An attorney ad litem may also be appointed in instances of child abuse in which Child Protective Services (CPS) takes action to terminate the parent-child relationship. In these cases, the attorney ad litem will represent the interests of a child. The court may also appoint the attorney ad litem to represent the child in custody or divorce matters.

These proceedings are usually long and emotional ones; thus, in order to best protect the interests of a child, the court will usually find that appointing an attorney ad litem is the best legal option.


If you need to speak to a Houston Divorce Lawyer, call (832) 410-8935, we offer free consultations over the phone to most clients.


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