Discretionary appointment of counsel

Key_development Question_mark

Legislation, Custody Disputes - Children

D.C. Code § 16-914(g) gives the judge the power to appoint either a GAL or an attorney (or both) for a child in a private custody proceeding.  Even if a GAL is appointed, “Pursuant to an administrative order issued by the Superior Court, GALs in custody cases must be attorneys. D.C. Fam. Ct. R.App. III, at I.B.1.”  Saxon v. Zirkle, 97 A.3d 568, 574 (D.C. App. 2014).

The Saxon court also held that “attorney GALs are not generally foreclosed from obtaining attorney's fees as a sanction under Domestic Rule 11 … this court and others have held that attorney's fees may be awarded even though representation was provided on a pro bono basis.”

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no