Right to counsel

Key_development Question_mark

Legislation, Termination of Parental Rights (State) - Children

Under Wis. Stat. Ann. § 48.23(1m), children in all cases under the Children's Code may be represented by counsel at the discretion of the court, but the child must be represented by counsel in the following circumstances:

 

"If the petition is contested, the court may not place the child outside his or her home unless the child is represented by counsel at the fact-finding hearing and subsequent proceedings."

 

"If the petition is not contested, the court may not place the child outside his or her home unless the child is represented by counsel at the hearing at which the placement is made."

 

"For a child under 12 years of age, the judge may appoint a guardian ad litem instead of counsel."

 

Wis. Stat. Ann. § 48.23(1m)(b)(2). Except for the circumstances listed above, a child 15 years of age or older allegedly in need of protective services may waive counsel if the court finds that the waiver is knowing and voluntary and the court accepts the waiver.

 

See also Wis. Stat. § 48.235(1)(c) (“The court shall appoint a guardian ad litem for any child who is the subject of a proceeding to terminate parental rights) & (3) (“If the guardian ad litem determines that the best interests of the person are substantially inconsistent with the wishes of that person, the guardian ad litem shall so inform the court and the court may appoint counsel to represent that person.”)

Cite: Wis. Stat. ยง 48.235(3)

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes