May 4, 2016
Judge Spina commented that in the Guardianship of V.V. 470 Mass 590 (2015) the court ruled that a parent who has a minor child subject to a guardianship proceeding pursuant to G.L. c. 190B. Sec. 5-206 and can’t afford a lawyer does indeed have a right to counsel. The issue here is if a parent has a right to counsel when a parent files a petition to have a guardian removed, or the terms are modified. He court finds that a parent has a right to counsel when they file a petition to have a guardian removed, or the terms modified. The court finds that a parent has a right to counsel for those types of proceedings. The court also offers guidance to the probate and family court, when these guardianship issues occur and to create standards regarding right to counsel.
The plaintiffs are mothers of children where guardians have been appointed pursuant to G.L. c. 190B, Sec. 5-206. They brought this action in County Court, contesting a policy put in place by the Chief Justice of Probate and Family Court regarding the appointment of counsel in guardianship proceedings (G.L. 190B). They challenged a memorandum that was released to the court personnel regarding this issue.