Texas

This page provides a breakdown of all major developments and right to counsel law that the NCCRC knows for this state, sorted by subject area. Click on either tab below to see the aspect it describes.

Abuse/Neglect/Dependency - Accused Parents

Legislation

Texas enacts law expanding right to counsel for parents

06/02/2015

A Texas law enacted in 2015 provides for appointment of counsel for unknown/unlocatable parents and provides earlier notice to other parents.

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Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Indigent parents are entitled to counsel in abuse/neglect cases where the state seeks to install a temporary managing conservator.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Litigation

TX Sup. Ct: parental right to counsel in abuse/neglect cases extends to high court appeal

04/01/2016

The Supreme Court of Texas held that a parent's right to counsel in child welfare cases extends to an appeal to the high court.

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Abuse/Neglect/Dependency - Children

Legislation

Legislation: child counsel in conservatorships

02/20/2017

These bills require counsel or a GAL appointed for a child in conservatorships to continue as long as the child remains in conservatorship.

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Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Children have a right to counsel in abuse/neglect cases where the state seeks to install a temporary managing conservator.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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All Basic Human Needs

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Discretionary appointment of counsel

A court may appoint counsel in any civil case.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

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Litigation

Discretionary appointment of counsel

The Texas Supreme Court has said trial courts have inherent power to appoint in any civil case if exceptional circumstances exist.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: yes

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Bypass of Parental Input into Abortion - Minor

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

A court must appoint counsel for a minor seeking to bypass the parental consent and notification requirements for an abortion

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Civil Commitment - Subject of Petition

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a right to counsel for the subject of court-ordered mental health services, including commitment.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Litigation

Right to counsel

Several appellate courts have found a federal constitutional right to counsel in civil commitment proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Child Support Enforcement

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is an arguable right to counsel for an indigent respondent in a civil contempt proceeding.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Litigation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Some appellate courts have found a federal constitutional right to counsel for the respondent in a civil contempt proceeding.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Custody Disputes - Parents

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Discretionary appointment of counsel

The court may appoint counsel for a parent in any proceeding where the interests of the child are at issue.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

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Court Rule or Initiative

Discretionary appointment of counsel

The court may appoint counsel for a parent claiming violation of a child visitation order.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: yes

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Custody Disputes - Children

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Discretionary appointment of counsel

The court may appoint counsel for a child in any proceeding where the interests of the child are at issue.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

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Domestic Violence - Alleged Victim

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

One appellate court concluded that petitioners in DV cases have a right to counsel.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Domestic Violence - Accused Person

Litigation

Key_development Question_mark

Discretionary appointment of counsel

One appellate court determined that constitutional appointment of counsel for respondents in protective order cases is on a case-by-case basis.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: yes

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Guardianship/Conservatorship of Adults - Ward

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

The court must appoint counsel for the subject of a guardianship proceeding.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Incarceration for fees/fines (incomplete)

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is an arguable statutory right to counsel for an indigent respondent in a civil contempt proceeding.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Litigation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Some appellate courts have found a federal constitutional right to counsel for the respondent in a civil contempt proceeding.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Involuntary Medical Treatment

Legislation

Right to counsel

There is a right to counsel for the subject of court-ordered mental health services, including commitment.

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Sexually Dangerous Persons - Confinement

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a right to counsel for an indigent respondent in a sexually violent persons commitment proceeding.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Termination of Parental Rights (Private) - Children

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

The court must appoint counsel for a child in a termination case unless their interests are adequately represented by another party.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Termination of Parental Rights (State) - Children

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Children have a right to counsel in state-initiated termination of parental rights proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Termination of Parental Rights (Private) - Birth Parents

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Discretionary appointment of counsel

A court may appoint counsel for the parent in a privately-initiated termination of parental rights proceeding.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

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Termination of Parental Rights (State) - Parents

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Indigent parents have a right to counsel in state-initiated termination of parental rights cases.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Litigation

TX Sup Ct: parental right to counsel in termination cases extends to high court appeal

04/01/2016

The Supreme Court of Texas held that a parent's right to counsel in termination of parental rights cases extends to an appeal to the high court.

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Other Subject Areas

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Texas decriminalizes truancy, adds appointment of counsel provision

06/18/2015

A law signed by the Texas governor on June 18 decriminalizes truancy and permits the court to appoint counsel for the child.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

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Discretionary appointment of counsel - probate cases

A court may appoint counsel for a variety of people in probate proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: yes

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Court Rule or Initiative

Key_development Question_mark

Discretionary appointment of counsel - petitioner in civil contempt

The court may appoint counsel for the petitioner claiming violation of an order “for child support or possession of or access to a child.”

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

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