Monday, October 15, 2012

Legal Representation for Children When Parental Rights Are Terminated

Bill A-700 that is pending in New Jersey, would require the State to provide legal representation for a child in proceedings after parental rights have been terminated. This Bill extends the authorization of the Law Guardian Program of the Office of the Public Defender to provide legal representation until permanent placement has been finalized by the court. Extending the legal representation ensures the child(ren)'s wishes to are known and their interests protected. In addition to the Office of the Public Defender assigning counsel based on all characteristics of the case, the willingness of an attorney to represent any party must be taken into account. This Bill also makes mandatory the requirement that attorneys who represent a party in any post-termination review hearing receive adequate training to provide proper representation to the clients. While these services are typically already offered by the Officer of the Public Defender, the ratification of this bill will be an important milestone in guaranteeing the proper representation of New Jersey's youth. This blog is for informational purposes only and in no way intended to replace the advice of an attorney regarding your specific matter. If you are facing or seeking termination of parental rights, you should consult an experienced family law attorney immediately in order to protect your rights. For more information on parental rights,adoption, child support, custody, alimony, divorce, dissolution of a civil union or domestic partnership or other family law matters in New Jersey visit This post was contributed by Doreen L. Neggia, Esq.

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