Sec. 107.013: Mandatory Appointment of Attorney Ad Litem for Parent

(a) In a suit filed by a governmental entity under Subtitle E in which termination of the parent-child relationship or the appointment of a conservator for a child is requested, the court shall appoint an attorney ad litem to represent the interests of:

(1) an indigent parent of the child who responds in opposition to the termination or appointment;

(2) a parent served by citation by publication;

(3) an alleged father who failed to register with the registry under Chapter 160 and whose identity or location is unknown; and

(4) an alleged father who registered with the paternity registry under Chapter 160, but the petitioner's attempt to personally serve citation at the address provided to the registry and at any other address for the alleged father known by the petitioner has been unsuccessful.

(a-1) In a suit described by Subsection (a), if a parent is not represented by an attorney at the parent's first appearance in court, the court shall inform the parent of:

(1) the right to be represented by an attorney; and

(2) if the parent is indigent and appears in opposition to the suit, the right to an attorney ad litem appointed by the court.

(b) If both parents of the child are entitled to the appointment of an attorney ad litem under this section and the court finds that the interests of the parents are not in conflict and that there is no history or pattern of past or present family violence by one parent directed against the other parent, a spouse, or a child of the parties, the court may appoint an attorney ad litem to represent the interests of both parents.

(c) Repealed by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 810, Sec. 11, eff. September 1, 2013.

(d) The court shall require a parent who claims indigence under Subsection (a) to file an affidavit of indigence in accordance with Rule 145(b) of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure before the court may conduct a hearing to determine the parent's indigence under this section. The court may consider additional evidence at that hearing, including evidence relating to the parent's income, source of income, assets, property ownership, benefits paid in accordance with a federal, state, or local public assistance program, outstanding obligations, and necessary expenses and the number and ages of the parent's dependents. If the court determines the parent is indigent, the court shall appoint an attorney ad litem to represent the parent.

(e) A parent who the court has determined is indigent for purposes of this section is presumed to remain indigent for the duration of the suit and any subsequent appeal unless the court, after reconsideration on the motion of the parent, the attorney ad litem for the parent, or the attorney representing the governmental entity, determines that the parent is no longer indigent due to a material and substantial change in the parent's financial circumstances.


Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, Sec. 15, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 561, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, Sec. 2.11, eff. June 14, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 262, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 268 (S.B. 6), Sec. 1.06, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 526 (S.B. 813), Sec. 1, eff. June 16, 2007.

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 75 (H.B. 906), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2011.

Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 810 (S.B. 1759), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2013.

Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 810 (S.B. 1759), Sec. 11, eff. September 1, 2013.

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 128 (S.B. 1931), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2015.