Right to counsel

Key_development Question_mark

Legislation, Custody Disputes - Children

In private custody proceedings, “The court shall appoint an attorney to represent the child if, in the hearing,” a prima facie case is presented “that a parent or other person caring for the child has sexually, physically or emotionally abused the child, or knew or should have known that the child was being abused.”  La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 9:345(B).  Otherwise, “In any child custody or visitation proceeding, the court ... may appoint an attorney to represent the child if, ... after a hearing, the court determines such appointment of counsel would be in the best interest of the child.”  La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 9:345(A).  See also La. C.C. Art. 136(C) (in proceeding to determine whether to award visitation to grandparent or any other person, “the court shall hold a contradictory hearing as provided for in R.S. 9:345 in order to determine whether the court should appoint an attorney to represent the child.”)


The costs of the representation “shall be apportioned among the parties as the court deems just, and if the parties’ ability to pay is limited, the court shall attempt to secure ... representation without compensation.”  La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 9:345(F).

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes