Discretionary appointment of counsel

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Legislation, Custody Disputes - Children

In actions for custody, partial custody, or visitation of children, “The court may appoint counsel to represent the child if the court determines that the appointment will assist in resolving the issues in the custody proceeding. If a child has legal counsel and a guardian ad litem, counsel shall represent the legal interests of the child and the guardian ad litem shall represent the best interests of the child.”  23 Pa.C.S. § 5335(a).  Subsection (b) adds that “Substantial allegations of abuse of the child constitute a reasonable basis for appointing counsel for the child.”  


In 2024, Pennsylvania enacted HB 917, the Uniform Family Law Arbitration Act, which provides, "Unless the parties otherwise agree in a record, an arbitrator may: ... appoint an attorney, guardian ad litem or other representative for a child at the expense of the parties." 42 Pa.C.S. § 7383(c)(12).

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no