Montana

This page provides a breakdown of all major developments and right to counsel law that the NCCRC knows for this state, sorted by subject area. Click on either tab below to see the aspect it describes.

Abuse/Neglect/Dependency - Accused Parents

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Indigent parents have a right to representation by the public defender in abuse/neglect proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Litigation

Discretionary appointment of counsel

The Montana Supreme Court held that the constitution permits appointment of counsel for parents in abuse/neglect cases on a case-by-case basis.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

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Abuse/Neglect/Dependency - Children

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

A court must appoint counsel for a child in an abuse/neglect proceeding if a GAL is not appointed.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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All Basic Human Needs

Litigation

Key_development Question_mark

Trial courts have inherent power to appoint counsel, says Supreme Court of Montana

01/01/2011

The Montana Supreme Court sent a reminder to trial courts that they have the inherent power to appoint counsel in any civil case.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

 

Nccrc_involvement_icon The NCCRC worked with Montana Legal Services on the petition to the Montana Supreme Court.

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Key_development Question_mark

Discretionary appointment of counsel

The Montana Supreme Court has said that trial courts have the power to appoint pro bono counsel in any civil case in appropriate circumstances.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

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Bypass of Parental Input into Abortion - Minor

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Minors seeking to waive the parental consent requirement for an abortion have a right to counsel, but the consent provision has been enjoined.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Civil Commitment - Subject of Petition

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a right to representation by the public defender in various types of civil commitment proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Litigation

Right to counsel

The Montana Supreme Court has suggested there may be a state and federal constitutional right to counsel in civil commitment proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Custody Disputes - Children

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Discretionary appointment of counsel

A court may appoint a GAL who is an lawyer for a minor in divorce cases "with respect to the child's support, parenting, and parental contact."

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

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Guardianship/Conservatorship of Adults - Ward

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Discretionary appointment of counsel

There is a discretionary appointment of counsel for subjects of a guardianship or conservatorship.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

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Paternity - Defendant/Respondent

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a right to counsel for all indigent parties to a paternity proceeding.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Paternity - Petitioner or Child

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a right to counsel for all indigent parties to a paternity proceeding, including for the appeal.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Termination of Parental Rights (State) - Children

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

A court must appoint counsel for a child in a termination of parental rights proceeding if a GAL is not appointed, including for the appeal.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Termination of Parental Rights (Private) - Birth Parents

Legislation

Right to counsel

Minor parents have a right to counsel in adoption proceedings involving relinquishment.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Litigation

Key_development Question_mark

Montana parents have constitutional right to counsel in adoptions, says high court

12/02/2014

The Supreme Court of Montana held the state's failure to provide counsel in private adoption cases violated the state's equal protection clause.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

 

Nccrc_involvement_icon NCCRC contributed substantially to petitioner's merits briefing and strategy.

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Termination of Parental Rights (State) - Birth Parents

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Indigent parents have a right to representation by the public defender in termination of parental rights proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Litigation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

The Montana Supreme Court found a state constitutional due process right to counsel in termination of parental rights proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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