Right to counsel

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Legislation, Termination of Parental Rights (Private) - Children

Miss. Code § 93-17-8(1)(b) states, “whenever an adoption becomes a contested matter, whether after a hearing on a petition for determination of rights […] or otherwise,” the court “shall appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the child. Such guardian ad litem shall be an attorney, however his duties are as guardian ad litem and not as attorney for the child.” Furthermore, the provision provides that “neither the child nor anyone purporting to act on his behalf may waive the appointment of a guardian ad litem.”


However, § 93-17-8(5) adds:

Appointment of a guardian ad litem is not required in any proceeding under this chapter except as provided in subsection (1)(b) above and except for the guardian ad litem needed for an abandoned child. It shall not be necessary for a guardian ad litem to be appointed where the chancery judge presiding in the adoption proceeding deems it unnecessary and no adoption agency is involved in the proceeding. No final decree of adoption heretofore granted shall be set aside or modified because a guardian ad litem was not appointed unless as the result of a direct appeal not now barred.

This suggests the judge may have the discretion not to appoint in certain circumstances.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes