Posts tagged "K.N."

Guardianship of K.N. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-057-17)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us   SJC-12195   GUARDIANSHIP OF K.N.       Suffolk.     December 6, 2016. – April 13, 2017.   Present (Sitting at Lawrence):  Gants, C.J., Botsford, Lenk, Hines, Gaziano, Lowy, & Budd, JJ.[1]     Probate Court, Guardian, General equity power.  Constitutional Law, Assistance of counsel.  Due Process of Law, Assistance of counsel.  Practice, Civil, Guardianship proceeding, Assistance of counsel.       Petition for appointment of a guardian for a minor child filed in the Suffolk Division of the Probate and Family Court Department on November 4, 2005.   A motion by the child for appointment of counsel for the guardian was heard by Brian J. Dunn, J.   A proceeding for interlocutory review was allowed in the Appeals Court by Judd J. Carhart, J., and the appeal was reported by him to the Appeals Court.  The Supreme Judicial Court granted an application for direct appellate review.     Claudia Leis Bolgen for the child. Deborah W. Kirchwey for the mother. Stephen H. Merlin, for the guardian, was present but did not argue. Maura Healey, Attorney General, & Abigail B. Taylor, Assistant Attorney General, for the Attorney General, amicus curiae, submitted a brief.     LOWY, J.  In L.B. v. Chief Justice of the Probate and Family Court Dep’t, 474 Mass. 231, 232 (2016), this court held that a parent whose minor child is the subject of a guardianship petition pursuant to G. L. c. 190B, § 5-206, has a right to counsel in certain situations.  The issue in this case is whether an indigent guardian who is the subject of a removal petition under G. L. c. 190B, § 5-212, is entitled to appointed counsel in the proceedings.  We conclude that guardians who have established a de facto parent relationship with their wards do not have a liberty interest in that relationship such that they have a procedural due process right to counsel.  We hold, however, that the equitable powers of the Probate and Family Court allow a judge of that court to grant a motion requesting counsel for a guardian in a removal proceeding where the judge, in his or her sound discretion, concludes that doing so would materially assist in determining the best interests of the child.[2] Background.  K.N., a minor child, was born in 2005 when her mother was fifteen years of age.  Within a matter of weeks, the child’s maternal grandmother was appointed […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - April 13, 2017 at 4:13 pm

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