Right to counsel

Key_development Question_mark

Legislation, Paternity - Defendant/Respondent

For parentage actions, Cal Fam Code § 7572(b) specifies that “The written materials for parents which shall be attached to the form specified in Section 7574 and provided to unmarried parents shall contain the following information: ... (3)  An alleged father’s constitutional rights to... have an attorney represent him; and to have an attorney appointed to represent him if he cannot afford one in a paternity action filed by a local child support agency.”  This is likely a statutory implementation of Salas v. Cortez, 593 P.2d 226 (Cal. 1979), which held that due process requires appointment of counsel to represent indigent defendants in paternity proceedings in which the state appears as a party or appears on behalf of a mother or child.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no