Do I Need a Lawyer?
Guardians ad litem
The court appoints a guardian ad litem (a lawyer who represents the juvenile’s best interests) to represent all juveniles alleged to be
- Abandoned, neglected, or abused,
- The subject of either an entrustment agreement (in which the parents give up their parental rights and transfer care and custody of the juvenile to an agency)
- The subject of a court proceeding to terminate residual parental rights (for all rights and responsibilities to the juvenile), or whose parents desire to be relieved of care and custody
The court also appoints a guardian ad litem for adults who are
- Mentally ill
- Intellectually disabled
Adults and juveniles may waive attorney representation.
- Juveniles and their parents must knowingly waive representation in writing.
- The judge must agree that this waiver is consistent with the interests of the child.
- If the juvenile is charged with an offense that is a felony, then the juvenile must consult with an attorney and both must sign a waiver to be filed with court records of the case.
- The court must find that this waiver is made free and voluntarily.
Obtaining a lawyer
Those who want to hire a lawyer and have not had time to do so must consult with the Clerk’s Office. Please see the Court’s continuance policy (PDF) regarding what is considered good cause to grant a continuance.
Resources to help you find a lawyer:
The right to be represented by a lawyer in this court extends to:
- Juveniles involved in delinquency cases
- Juveniles alleged to need services
- Juveniles alleged to need supervision
- Abused and neglected juveniles
- A juvenile who is the subject of
- an entrustment agreement
- a request for relief of custody
- a parentage controversy
- Adults before the court on criminal charges
- Adults faced with loss of their parental rights or charged with child abuse or neglect
- All other persons the court decides require a lawyer’s services, based on certain legal requirements