Indigents Entitled to Atty in Past-Due Child Support Cases – Pasqua v. Council

Today’s landmark New Jersey Supreme Court decision in Pasqua v. Council extends the right of counsel to indigent parents who are brought before the Family Part of the Superior Court on child support enforcement cases under Rule 1:10-3. According to the Justices’ ruling, all parents who are brought before the Family Part on enforcement matters must be advised of the right to an attorney and, if indigent, the right to appointed counsel. Moreover, parents who are arrested on warrants for child support may no longer languish indefinitely in jail, but must be brought before a judge within 72 hours.

In terms of the practical issues associated with providing lawyers to indigents in these types of proceedings, the Court declined to employ the members of the bar on an involuntary basis. Rather, the Justices called upon the Legislature to take the necessary steps to fund such a program.

Download a copy of Pasqua v. Council.

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