Right to counsel

Key_development Question_mark

Legislation, Paternity - Petitioner or Child

There is a right to counsel for indigent petitioners in parentage proceedings. Minn. Stat. § 257.69, subd. 1. See also Minn. Gen. R. Prac. 357.03 (requiring child support magistrate to appoint attorney at public expense for indigent party that requests attorney in all cases of establishment of parentage).


The high court originally held that it extended to custody and visitation proceedings when such proceedings arise within a paternity case. Latourell v. Dempsey, 518 N.W.2d 564, 566 (Minn. 1994). However, § 257.69 was amended to say that "The representation of appointed counsel is limited in scope to the issue of establishment of parentage," and therefore, "Latourell no longer governs." In re D.F., 828 N.W.2d 138, 141 (Minn. Ct. App. 2013).

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no