Termination of parental rights; appointment of guardian ad litem; when.
When termination of the parent-juvenile relationship is sought under subdivision (5) of section 43-292, the court shall appoint a guardian ad litem for the alleged incompetent parent. The court may, in any other case, appoint a guardian ad litem, as deemed necessary or desirable, for any party. The guardian ad litem shall be paid a reasonable fee set by the court and paid from the general fund of the county.
Source:Laws 1998, LB 1041, § 28.
Where section 43-292(5) is one of multiple statutory grounds alleged to support termination of parental rights, the failure of the trial court to appoint a guardian ad litem for the parent is error, but the error may or may not be prejudicial, depending upon the specific facts of the case. Wayne G. v. Jacqueline W., 288 Neb. 262, 847 N.W.2d 85 (2014).
A guardian ad litem appointed for a parent is entitled to participate fully in the proceeding to terminate parental rights. In re Interest of D.S. and T.S., 236 Neb. 413, 461 N.W.2d 415 (1990).
Appointment of a guardian ad litem for parents whose parental rights are sought to be terminated under subdivision (5) of section 43-292 is mandatory. Failure to appoint a guardian ad litem to protect the interests of such a parent is plain error which requires that the judgment be reversed. In re Interest of M.M., C.M., and D.M., 230 Neb. 388, 431 N.W.2d 611 (1988).
Supreme Court urges appointments of an attorney and of a guardian ad litem be separated. In re Interest of C.W., 226 Neb. 719, 414 N.W.2d 277 (1987).
Appointment of a guardian ad litem for a parent who is allegedly incompetent because of mental illness or mental deficiency is mandatory, and the failure to appoint a guardian ad litem is plain error which requires reversal of an order terminating the parent's rights. In re Interest of Presten O., 18 Neb. App. 259, 778 N.W.2d 759 (2010).