Discretionary appointment of counsel or GAL

Key_development Question_mark

03/28/2024, Legislation, Custody Disputes - Children

With regard to the representation of children in divorce actions, Idaho Code Ann. § 32- 704(4) once provided for the discretionary appointment of an attorney for minor children to represent the minor's interests "with respect to his or her support, custody, and visitation, but only in those instances where the court deems legal representation necessary beyond any court ordered and court related services previously authorized for the particular case..." 

In 2024, the Idaho legislature enacted HB 629, amending the law to allow appointment of a guardian ad litem ("GAL") in the alternative.  Section 32- 704(4) now states, "The court may appoint an attorney or guardian ad litem..." (emphasis added).

Regarding payment for the appointed attorney or GAL, the statute provides:

The court shall enter an order for costs, fees, and disbursements in favor of the child's attorney or guardian ad litem. The order shall be made against either or both parents, except, if both parties are indigent, the costs, fees, and disbursements shall be borne by the county in which the action is pending.


Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: yes