Right to counsel

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Legislation, Abuse/Neglect/Dependency - Accused Parents

Ga. Code Ann. § 15-11-160(b), which addresses issuance of a summons for a dependency proceeding, states that “A summons shall state that a party is entitled to an attorney in the proceedings and that the court will appoint an attorney if the party is an indigent person.” “Parties” includes putative fathers.  Wilkins v. Georgia Dep’t of Human Res., 255 Ga. 230, 236 (1985).  Ga. Code § 15-11-103(g) further spells out the right to appointed counsel for parents:


A party other than a child shall be informed of his or her right to an attorney prior to any hearing. A party other than a child shall be given an opportunity to:

(1)  Obtain and employ an attorney of such party's own choice;

(2)  Obtain a court appointed attorney if the court determines that such party is an indigent person; or

(3)  Waive the right to an attorney, provided that such waiver is made knowingly, voluntarily, and on the record.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no