Texas enacts law expanding right to counsel for parents

06/02/2015, Legislation, Abuse/Neglect/Dependency - Accused Parents

Texas SB 1931 increases notice to parents of their right to counsel in state-initiated terminations or conservatorship cases at their first court appearance. There is also now more safeguarding against parents sharing an ad litem in cases of family violence history. Further, the law permits the judge to appoint a temporary attorney "for a limited period beginning at the time the court issues a temporary restraining order or attachment of the parent's child under Chapter 262 and ending on the court's determination of whether the parent is indigent before commencement of the full adversary hearing."  This last provision is primarily to protect unknown/unlocatable parents.


In both sections, the law expands the criteria the judge must consider when determining if someone is “indigent."