Right to counsel

Key_development Question_mark

Legislation, Termination of Parental Rights (Private) - Birth Parents

In In re R.E.S., 978 A.2d 182 (D.C. 2009), the court held that the statutory right to counsel for dependency/neglect proceedings (D.C. Code § 16-2304) applies to adoption consent waiver proceedings.

 

Note that D.C. Code § 16-316(a) states, "When a petition for adoption has been filed and there has been no termination or relinquishment of parental rights with respect to the proposed adoptee or consent to the proposed adoption by a parent or guardian whose consent is required ..., the Court may appoint an attorney to represent such parent or guardian in the adoption proceeding if the individual is financially unable to obtain adequate representation." Without the court's ruling in R.E.S., therefore, appointment of counsel would be discretionary.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no