Right to counsel

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

For an "adoption without prior termination of parental rights" (a process initiated by a private party that requires the cooperation of the Department and the consent of the birth parents), all indigent parents have a right to counsel. Md. Code Ann. Crim. Proc. § 16-204(b)(1)(vi).


For a child guardianship action brought by a private agency (which is brought prior to adoptions but which terminates parental rights) and for independent adoptions initiated by a private party, courts are required to appoint counsel for a parent, regardless of indigency, who has a disability making him or her "incapable of effectively participating in the case," or for a minor parent. Md. Code Ann. Fam. Law § 5-3A-07(a)(1) (private agency guardianship leading to adoption), § 5-3B-06(a)(1) (independent adoption).

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes