__________________________________ COURT

DOCKET # _________

IN RE: _________________________________
D.O.B.  _____________________


NOW COMES ______________________________, non-custodial parent of the above-named child, and respectfully moves this honorable Court to APPOINT an attorney to protect my fundamental rights with respect to my child.  In support of said MOTION, Petitioner respectfully states the following:

1.    RSA 169-C:10, II states, with respect to appointing a parent for a non-custodial parent:

In any case of neglect or abuse brought pursuant to this chapter, the court shall appoint an attorney to represent an indigent parent alleged to have neglected or abused his or her child. In addition, the court may appoint an attorney to represent an indigent parent not alleged to have neglected or abused his or her child if the parent is a household member and such independent legal representation is necessary to protect the parent's interests. The court shall not appoint an attorney to represent any other persons involved in a case brought under this chapter.

2.   Proceedings under RSA 169-C affect critically important rights I have as a parent, and to the extent it denies me the opportunity to consult with an attorney to protect those rights, the statute may be unconstitutional.   See In Re: Shelby R., 148 N.H. 237 (2002).  

3.    Among my rights affected by this proceeding are:

       A.      If this court awards custody of my child to DCYF as a result of the abuse or neglect of the custodial parent, my rights to petition in the Superior Court for custody of my child against the custodial parent are automatically vacated.   See RSA 169-C:4, III.  In a proceeding under RSA 458:17, a change of custody is permitted upon a showing by clear and convincing evidence that "the child's present environment is detrimental to the child's physical, mental, or emotional health and that the advantage to the child of modifying a permanent custody order outweighs the harm likely to be caused by the change in environment".  There is no requirement for a showing that I am fit. RSA 458:17, V(a)(3).  Fitness under RSA 458:17 is presumed.  Just the possibility that I will lose my right to petition against the mother for custody as a result of an allegation of abuse or neglect is sufficient to trigger my rights to counsel. 

       B.      This Court has the broad discretion under the Child Protection Act to make ORDERS restricting visitation and/or custody, it can order EITHER parent to participate in a variety of programs or intrusive psychological testing, counseling, parenting classes, or supervised visitation.   RSA 169-C:16, RSA 169-C:18, RSA 169-C:19,.  Any or all of those possible orders place restrictions or conditions on my fundamental rights to custody of my child(ren) without any showing that I am unfit.  The United States Supreme Court, in the case of  Troxel v. Granville,  530 U.S. 57 (2000) stated ""The liberty interest at issue in this case - the interest of parents in the care, custody, and control of their children-is perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by this Court."  It is likely impossible for this Court to make ORDERS that do not restrict my rights.  The mere possibility that this may happen is sufficient to trigger my constitutional right to counsel.

        C.     RSA 169-C:27 states that I can be held financially responsible for costs associated services provided to the offending parent to correct conditions leading to the abuse or neglect petition.  It may be unconstitutional to hold me financially responsible to pay for services for services for the other parent to correct conditions leading to the neglect petition.  I am requesting an attorney to protect my financial rights.

          D.   RSA 169-C:19-e states that I am given the opportunity to petition this court for a "fit parent" hearing to determine my rights to the custody of my child.  There is no definition of "fit parent" in any part of New Hampshire law.  I cannot possibly protect my rights under this statute in the absence of a definition of "fit parent" because there is no way I can know what it is that I must prove to prevail in that hearing. I need an attorney to assist me in protecting my rights.

           E.   As a result of a Petition for Neglect (or Abuse) being filed against the custodial parent, my parental rights are subject to termination.  The mere possiblity of this drastic denial of my fundamental rights is sufficient to trigger my constitutional right to counsel.

4.   I am unable to afford an attorney without this court's assistance.  I will complete the financial affidavit used for these types of cases once it is given to me by this Court.

WHEREFORE, Petitioner respectfully requests the following relief:

A.    That this Court appoint an attorney to represent me in this matter.

B.    For other and such relief as may be just.

Respectfully submitted,


Signature of Parent

Name: __________________________________________

Address: ________________________________________
Phone: _________________________________________


Fill out ONLY ONE BOX:

_____    I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing MOTION has been sent this date to the DCYF attorney, at

__DCYF -__________________District Office



________  I have not been provided with the name or address of the DCYF attorney.  Please forward a copy of this motion to him or her.

Date: ____________________                                      

Signature of Parent

Directons to Parent:  (1) Print out this form, (2) complete it, and (3)  give it to the court clerk.  If there is no hearing scheduled at any time soon, mail or deliver it to the court.  If you have a hearing TODAY, it is OK to take it with you.  DO NOT DELAY in asking for legal counsel.

Form designed by Paula J. Werme, Esq., 83 N. Main St., Boscawen, NH  03303
753 - 9384. 

No informaton contained in this generic form is intended to be construed as legal advice or a statement of the constitutionality of any law.  It is entirely informational.  Completing this form does not create any sort of attorney-client relationship with the author of this form, and does not obligate the court to appoint any particular attorney on behalf of the parent.   If the Court receiving this form wishes to appoint Paula J. Werme to represent the parent who completed the form, please contact her at the above number.

More information can be found about the rights of fit parents at