Discretionary appointment of counsel

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

In In re McClure, an Indiana appellate court held that a particular non-consenting non-custodial parent had a right to counsel during private adoption proceedings pursuant to the Fourteenth Amendment, given the facts of the case. 549 N.E.2d 392, 394-95 (Ind. App. 1990).  The court noted that the right "depend[s] upon factors such as the strength of the adversaries and the presence or absence of legal, factual, procedural, or evidentiary complexity."  The court pointed out that "[u]nlike the evidence presented in Lassiter, which demonstrated that the respondent-mother expressly declined to appear at a custody hearing and did not take the trouble to consult with her retained attorney after being notified of the proceedings, Forest took all possible necessary steps to prevent the termination of his parental rights of Benjamin." Id. at 395.


See also In re Adoption of K.W., 21 N.E.3d 96 (Ind. App.2014) (stating that “Father argues that the trial court violated his due process rights by ignoring his request for appointed counsel to represent him in Grandparents' adoption proceeding. We agree”, but adding that legislature had provided a statutory right to counsel for parents, and relying on statute as evidence that the father’s right to counsel had been violated).

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: yes