Discretionary appointment of counsel

Court Rule or Initiative, Termination of Parental Rights (State) - Children

Del. Fam. Ct. Civ. R. 207 states:


(a) The Court shall appoint an attorney authorized to practice law in this state or a Court Appointed Special Advocate ("CASA") to represent the best interests of the child.

(b) The Court may appoint an attorney authorized to practice law in this state to represent the wishes of the child.


Rule 207 falls under a chapter entitled “Child Dependency, Neglect and Abuse Proceedings” (with no mention in the title of termination of parental rights), and Rule 200 states that the scope of the rules is “procedures of the Family Court regarding dependency, neglect and abuse petitions for custody, and petitions for guardianship.” However, see Brown v. Division of Family Services, 803 A.2d 948 (Del. Supr. 2002) (“The final stage in the dependency and neglect continuum is either a successful reunification of the family or a decision that the best interests of the child or children requires a termination of parental rights … It is now well established that a petition to terminate parental rights is one of the two possible end stages in the three-part continuum that usually begins with a dependency and neglect proceeding.”)

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no