2019 Mississippi Code
Title 93 - Domestic Relations
Chapter 15 - Mississippi Termination of Parental Rights Law
§ 93-15-113. Conduct of hearing for involuntary termination of parental rights; counsel for parent

Universal Citation: MS Code § 93-15-113 (2019)
  • (1) A hearing on the involuntary termination of parental rights shall be conducted without a jury and in accordance with the Mississippi Rules of Evidence. The court may exclude the child from the hearing if the court determines that the exclusion of the child from the hearing is in the child’s best interest.

  • (2)

    • (a) At the beginning of the involuntary termination of parental rights hearing, the court shall determine whether all necessary parties are present and identify all persons participating in the hearing; determine whether the notice requirements have been complied with and, if not, determine whether the affected parties intelligently waived compliance with the notice requirements; explain to the parent the purpose of the hearing, the standard of proof required for terminating parental rights, and the consequences if the parent’s parental rights are terminated. The court shall also explain to the parent:

      • (i) The right to counsel;

      • (ii) The right to remain silent;

      • (iii) The right to subpoena witnesses;

      • (iv) The right to confront and cross-examine witnesses; and

      • (v) The right to appeal, including the right to a transcript of the proceedings.

    • (b) The court shall then determine whether the parent before the court is represented by counsel. If the parent wishes to retain counsel, the court shall continue the hearing for a reasonable time to allow the parent to obtain and consult with counsel of the parent’s own choosing. If an indigent parent does not have counsel, the court shall determine whether the parent is entitled to appointed counsel under the Constitution of the United States, the Mississippi Constitution of 1890, or statutory law and, if so, appoint counsel for the parent and then continue the hearing for a reasonable time to allow the parent to consult with the appointed counsel. The setting of fees for court-appointed counsel and the assessment of those fees are in the discretion of the court.

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