Affidavit of Indigence and Request for Court-Appointed Attorney - Template
Using this Form
This form is used to ask for a court-appointed attorney in a CPS Case.
This form was developed by Travis County and is meant as a SAMPLE TEMPLATE for you to use to request a court-appointed attorney in CPS case.
- If you are in Travis County you can use this form without modifications to request a court-appointed attorney in a CPS case.
- If you are not in Travis County you can use this form as a template to produce an affidavit of indigency and request for a court-appointed attorney.
- You could re-type this form with your court, county and other details relevant to your case.
Can I Get a Lawyer To Help Me?
- You can talk to and hire a lawyer at any time, including during the investigation stage, if you can afford one. But you are not entitled to a court appointed lawyer during a CPS investigation. What this means is that you can have a lawyer helping you if you pay for the lawyer yourself, but the court does not have to give you a free lawyer until later in the CPS process, and only then if you are determined to be indigent.
- Paying for a lawyer is hard for many people – lawyers can be very expensive. Organizations that offer free legal advice may be able to help, but there are not many legal aid lawyers who work on CPS cases. You can also try to find a lawyer willing to give you limited advice for a lower fee – maybe you can call and talk to the lawyer for advice, even if the lawyer does not come to CPS meetings with you. Reading this Handbook is another way you can help yourself even if you are not able to pay for a lawyer yourself.
Do I Qualify For a Free Court-Appointed Lawyer?
- You must meet all 3 requirements for a court to appoint you a free lawyer:
- Indigency. You must be “indigent” – this means that you have a low income and cannot afford to pay for a lawyer yourself.
- Lawsuit. CPS must have filed a lawsuit in court asking to be appointed the temporary managing conservator of your child or for your parental rights to be terminated.
- Oppose the Petition. You must “respond in opposition” to the suit – this means you must go to court and show that you are going to fight the CPS petition.
- Texas law is not specific about how much income you have to have to be considered indigent. Most courts give you a form to fill out where you will write down how much money you make each month and what your monthly expenses are like rent, utilities, daycare, and gas. You should fill out the form if you think there is any chance you might be able to have a free lawyer. One easy test, for example, is whether you get any other government benefits, like SNAP/food assistance. There is no penalty for filling out the form even if you do not end up receiving a court-appointed lawyer.
- For parents who are under 18 years old, you are also entitled to a lawyer. You should make sure to ASK the court for a lawyer if one is not immediately appointed to your case. Your ability to pay for a lawyer will be based on your income, not that of your parents. For more information relevant to teenage parents, See page 110.