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  • NJ A4628
  • Requires court to provide notice of right to legal counsel, and appoint counsel to indigent parents, during adoption proceedings.
Introduced
(2/27/2017)
In Committee
(6/15/2017)
Crossed OverPassedSignedDead/Failed/Vetoed
2016-2017 Regular Session
This bill requires the court to appoint legal counsel for indigent parents during adoption proceedings. The bill mandates that in an adoption proceeding or prior to a child being placed for adoption, certain information must be provided to the parent. Specifically, the notice of hearing or notice of intention to place the child for adoption must inform each parent of the parent's right to be represented by and consult with legal counsel, and if indigent, of the parent's right to have the court provide the parent with counsel pursuant to the provisions of the bill. The bill also expands the definition of "parent" to include a legal guardian or custodian. Currently, the law requires the court to inform each parent or person entitled to notice of an adoption action of the purpose of the action, the consequences of not responding to the notice in a timely manner, the parent's or person's right to file written objections, and the timeframe under which the objections must be filed. The law does not require the court to inform parents or other persons entitled to notice of the adoption action of the right to be represented by or consult with legal counsel or, if indigent, to be provided with counsel. Under the provisions of the bill, in any action concerning a termination of parental rights or the adoption of a child for whom the parental rights of the parents have been terminated, the court would be required to provide the respondent parent with notice of the parent's right to retain and consult with legal counsel. If the parent is indigent, the court would be required to appoint the Office of the Public Defender to represent the parent. Current law requires the court to provide notice of a parent's right to retain and consult with legal counsel or, if the parent is indigent, to appoint the Office of Public Defender to represent the parent in certain actions to terminate parental rights, but not in all instances. This bill would expand the instances in which the court is required to provide such notice and appoint the Public Defender to represent an indigent parent to include an action to terminate parental rights or when a parent files a complaint for adoption. The bill also stipulates that the Office of the Public Defender would appoint counsel to represent the parent in accordance with guidelines established in the bill, and its provisions would not prohibit a parent from retaining private counsel or limit the powers of the Public Defender established pursuant to law.
Women and Children
Reported and Referred to Assembly Appropriations Committee  (on 6/15/2017)
 
 

Date Chamber Action Description
6/15/2017 A Reported and Referred to Assembly Appropriations Committee
6/15/2017 Assembly Women and Children Hearing (19:00 6/15/2017 The committee will hear testimony from invited speakers on mater)
2/27/2017 A Introduced, Referred to Assembly Women and Children Committee
Date Motion Yea Nay Other
Detail 6/15/2017 Assembly Women and Children Committee: Reported Favorably 5 0 1