Discretionary appointment of counsel for kids may extend to private adoptions

Key_development Question_mark

Litigation, Termination of Parental Rights (Private) - Children

In In re McClure, an Indiana appellate court extended the reach of Ind. Code § 31-35-1-12 (applicable in state-initiated termination of parental rights cases) to private adoptions, stating


While there is no express statutory provision requiring appointed counsel in adoption proceedings, an order granting a petition for adoption does indeed terminate a parent's rights ... we must conclude the legislature impliedly intended that any proceeding that terminates a right so fundamental requires the right to counsel as contemplated by the termination statute. Such a right can not be washed away by a tide of indifference to legislative intent.


549 N.E.2d 392, 394 (Ind. App. 1990).  See also Taylor v. Scott, 570 N.E.2d 1333, 1335 (Ind. Ct. App. 1991) and In re Adoption of G.W.B., 776 N.E.2d 952, 954 (Ind. Ct. App. 2002) (reaffirming McClure).  These rulings may mean that the discretionary power to appoint counsel for children in § 31-32-4-2(b) applies to adoption proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: yes