Discretionary appointment of counsel - divorce
While a state may have many statutes, court decisions, or court rules governing appointment of counsel for a particular subject area, a "Key Development" is a statute/decision/rule that prevails over the others (example: a state high court decision finding a categorical right to counsel in guardianships cases takes precedence over a statute saying appointment in guardianship cases is discretionary).
In Genninger v. Genninger, 418 Mass. 732, 735 (1994), the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court applied a case-by-case approach to appointing counsel in a divorce case and held that there was no right to counsel in the divorce case at issue because (a) only property interests were at stake; (b) there were no exceptional circumstances, such as complex legal issues or a litigant's inability to present the case. While it is not completely clear whether the court was analyzing the U.S. Constitution or the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights in reaching this conclusion, it did say that the litigant had raised both and seemed to suggest that it would not extend the ruling from Dept. of Public Welfare v. J.K.B., 379 Mass. 1 (1979) (finding right to counsel for adoption cases) so far.
In Peace v. Peace, 288 N.E.2d 602 (Mass. 1972), the court held that in a divorce case, "the Probate Court shall consider the appointment of counsel for the [defendant in a divorce] if the latter so desires and is indigent."
If "yes", the established right to counsel or discretionary appointment of counsel is limited in some way, including any of: the only authority is a lower/intermediate court decision or a city council, not a high court or state legislature; there has been a subsequent case that has cast doubt; a statute is ambiguous; or the right or discretionary appointment is not for all types of individuals or proceedings within that category.
Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no