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THERE IS NO RIGHT TO EFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE TO COUNSEL IN CIVIL CASES

Many people often confuse rights granted in criminal proceedings with those in civil proceedings. For example, there is a right to effective counsel in criminal proceedings. If a criminal defendant is indigent, he will be provided an attorney at the cost of the state. These rights do not apply in civil proceedings such as divorce or other family law matters. In the recent case of Parker v. Blevin, No. 2009–CP–00470–COA (Decided October 26, 2010), Parker filed a Motion to Modify custody. After filing the Motion, he fired his lawyer and represented himself. As a result of his self representation, he got sent to jail for failure to pay child support, and was denied the opportunity to modify his child support or custody, and received a judgment against him of $2,500 in attorneys fees. On appeal, he contended he was not effectively represented and the Judge should have helped him. The Court of Appeals stated in no uncertain terms that there is no right to appointed counsel or to effective assistance of counsel in civil proceedings.