Right to counsel

Key_development Question_mark

Legislation, Termination of Parental Rights (State) - Birth Parents

Mo. Ann. Stat. § 211.462(2) requires that in all actions to terminate parental rights, "[t]he parent or guardian of the person of the child shall be notified of the right to have counsel, and if they request counsel and are financially unable to employ counsel, counsel shall be appointed by the court. Notice of this provision shall be contained in the summons." 


In K.S. v. S.J., 2017 Mo. App. LEXIS 1244 (Mo. App. 2017), the court commented, “This statute performs an essential role in protecting the due process rights of a parent threatened with termination of his or her parental rights. Therefore, we strictly apply the terms of § 211.462.2.”  It then held that there was no proof that the mother had received the required notice, so the court reversed and remanded.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no