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State Supreme Court to Reconsider Counsel for Indigent Parents

The New Hampshire Supreme Court may soon hear arguments concerning whether or not to provide legal counsel to poor parents who face civil family law cases, particularly those that involve parental rights and responsibilities, abuse, and neglect issues, according to a recent article in the Boston Globe. New Hampshire and Mississippi are currently the only states that do not provide a parent an attorney in these cases if the parent cannot afford one.

Until recently, New Hampshire did provide attorneys for indigent parents facing certain family law battles involving children. However, funding for this program was cut in the previous legislative session, leaving many parents without representation just when they may need it most – when their relationship with their children is at stake.

Because the stakes in a child abuse and neglect case are so high, New Hampshire Legal Assistance recently filed suit, seeking to get the program reinstated so that parents will still have access to the help of an attorney. Opponents, however, say that creating a right to counsel in civil cases will create a “slippery slope” that will cost the state a great deal of money.

At issue are civil cases in which the state seeks to end a parent’s responsibilities due to allegations of child abuse or neglect. Parents who are accused of criminal abuse or neglect still have a right to counsel under the state and federal Constitutions.

Child custody can be one of the most complicated and heart-wrenching issues in any divorce. If you’re facing a custody dispute, you need a compassionate and knowledgeable New Hampshire parental rights attorney on your side who will fight for your best interests and those of your children. At Tenn And Tenn, P.A., we have the experience and the dedication to help you through these difficult issues. Call us today at (603) 624-3700 for a free, confidential telephone consultation.

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