Taff v. Bettcher
In Taff v. Bettcher, 35 Conn. App. 421, 423, 646 A.2d 875 (1994), the defendant mother, in a custody modification case incident to a dissolution of marriage, claimed that the trial court should not have conducted a hearing to modify custody and visitation without counsel for the minor child present. Id.
The Court concluded that the mother had no standing to assert the due process rights of her child. Id., 426.
In Taff v. Bettcher, the defendant appealed from a decision of the trial court granting the plaintiff's motion to modify the pendente lite order of custody regarding the parties' minor child. 35 Conn. App. at 422.
The defendant claimed that the trial court improperly conducted a hearing on the motion to modify custody without counsel for the minor child present. 35 Conn. App. at 423, 646 A.2d 875.
The Court concluded that where the trial court appoints counsel for a minor child pursuant to General Statutes 46b-54, no authority or legal interest is conferred on the parents. 35 Conn. App. at 425-26.
Because the defendant was asserting a right that she did not have, we concluded that she did not have standing. 35 Conn. App. at 426.
General Statutes 46b-54 provides: "(a) The court may appoint counsel for any minor child or children of either or both parties at any time after the return day of a complaint under section 46b-45, if the court deems it to be in the best interests of the child or children. The court may appoint counsel on its own motion, or at the request of either of the parties or of the legal guardian of any child or at the request of any child who is of sufficient age and capable of making an intelligent request.
"(b) Counsel for the child or children may also be appointed on the motion of the court or on the request of any person enumerated in subsection (a) of this section in any case before the court when the court finds that the custody, care, education, visitation or support of a minor child is in actual controversy, provided the court may make any order regarding a matter in controversy prior to the appointment of counsel where it finds immediate action necessary in the best interests of any child.
"(c) Counsel for the child or children shall be heard on all matters pertaining to the interests of any child, including the custody, care, support, education and visitation of the child, so long as the court deems such representation to be in the best interests of the child."