Right to counsel

Key_development Question_mark

Legislation, Termination of Parental Rights (State) - Children

Wis. Stat. § 48.235(1)(c) provides that “The court shall appoint a guardian ad litem for any child who is the subject of a proceeding to terminate parental rights, while subsection (3) adds that “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.”


In Dunn Cnty. HHS v. C.R.R. (In re A.M.R.), No. 2015AP1771, 880 N.W.2d 183, ¶¶ 33-37 (Wis. Ct. App. Apr. 13, 2016), the court held that the mandatory child counsel appointment provisions of § 48.23(1m) apply only to CHIPS proceedings, not termination of parental rights proceedings; for the latter, children are only entitled to a guardian ad litem (who must be an attorney).

Cite: Wis. Stat. ยง 48.235(3)

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes