Right to counsel

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Legislation, Termination of Parental Rights (State) - Children

New Mexico courts must appoint an attorney for any child fourteen years or older who is the subject of an abuse or neglect proceeding; if younger than fourteen years, the child is appointed a guardian ad litem. NMSA 1978, § 32A-4-10(C). The statute adds that "When a child reaches fourteen years of age, the child's guardian ad litem shall continue as the child's attorney; provided that the court shall appoint a different attorney for the child if: (1) the child requests a different attorney; (2) the guardian ad litem requests to be removed; or (3) the court determines that the appointment of a different attorney is appropriate."  NMSA 1978, § 32A-4-10(C) has been applied to the termination of parental rights context. State of N.M. ex rel. CYFD v. John R., 203 P.3d 167, 171 (N.M. App. 2009).


NMSA 1978, § 32A-5-24(B) provides:


In all hearings regarding relinquishment of parental rights to the department, the child shall be represented by a guardian ad litem. If the child is fourteen years of age or older and in the custody of the department, the child’s attorney appointed pursuant to the Abuse and Neglect Act shall represent the child in any proceedings for termination of parental rights under this section.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes