Discretionary appointment of counsel

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Legislation, Paternity - Petitioner or Child

For paternity actions under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, the statute provides the following:

 

In any proceedings involving the … parentage … of a minor or dependent child, the court may, on its own motion or that of any party, appoint an attorney to serve in one of the following capacities to address the issues the court delineates:

 

(1) Attorney. The attorney shall provide independent legal counsel for the child and shall owe the same duties of undivided loyalty, confidentiality, and competent representation as are due an adult client.

 

(2) Guardian ad litem. The guardian ad litem shall testify or submit a written report to the court regarding his or her recommendations in accordance with the best interest of the child. The report shall be made available to all parties. The guardian ad litem may be called as a witness for purposes of cross-examination regarding the guardian ad litem's report or recommendations. The guardian ad litem shall investigate the facts of the case and interview the child and the parties.

 

(3) Child representative. The child representative shall advocate what the child representative finds to be in the best interests of the child after reviewing the facts and circumstances of the case …  The child representative shall consider, but not be bound by, the expressed wishes of the child … The child representative shall not render an opinion, recommendation, or report to the court and shall not be called as a witness, but shall offer evidence-based legal arguments. The child representative shall disclose the position as to what the child representative intends to advocate in a pre-trial memorandum that shall be served upon all counsel of record prior to the trial.

 

750 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 5/506(a).

 

Additionally, under the Parentage Act, the court may in any proceedings involving the parentage of a minor or dependent child, “on its own motion or that of any party, appoint an attorney to serve in one of the capacities specified in Section 506 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.” 750 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 46/809(b).

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: yes