In re Adoption of A.W.S.Annotate this Case
After Mother and Father, the parents of two children, divorced, Father married Stepmother, and the two children resided with Father and Stepmother. Stepmother filed petitions for adoption of the children and an order terminating Mother’s parental rights. Thereafter, the district court entered a decree of adoption in Stepmother’s favor and terminated Mother’s parental rights to the children, finding that Mother had willfully abandoned the children and had not supported them. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) Montana’s right to equal protection requires that counsel be appointed for indigent parents in termination proceedings brought under the Adoption Act; and (2) on remand, the district court was directed to appoint counsel for Mother if it determined that she was financially eligible.