Wednesday, February 8, 2023

No Right To Counsel In Divorce

The Montana Supreme Court rejected a divorcing husband's claim that his constitutional rights were violated because he was denied legal assistance from the Montana Legal Services Association

Peter Grigg (Grigg) alleges he was denied legal representation by Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA) in dissolution proceedings filed against him by his ex-wife, Tiffaney Grigg. Tiffaney Grigg received assistance from MLSA. Grigg claims his federal and state constitutional rights were violated when MLSA denied him legal representation, even though he has little or no income.

No violation of his rights

MLSA is a private, non-profit law firm that provides non-criminal legal information, advice, and representation to low-income Montanans. In a civil action, a party has no right to counsel. Norwood v. Stanford Univ., 172 F. App’x 153 (9th Cir. 2006). MLSA, like any law firm, is free to pick and choose who it decides to represent. Grigg acknowledges that no attorney-client relationship ever existed between himself and MLSA. MLSA did not agree to undertake an attorney-client relationship with Grigg and was under no duty to provide legal representation.

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