can a judge deny you a lawyer?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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can a judge deny you a lawyer?

My son is going through family court for
custody of his 3 year old son. He told the
judge that he wanted to get a lawyer and the
judge said no you can not obtain a lawyer.
The judge told my son that he didn’t need
one. Is that legal?? If not whom would we
contact? Thank you

Asked on April 28, 2016 under Family Law, Wisconsin


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

No, a judge cannot stop you from getting a lawyer with one exception: IF you did not get a lawyer before the court date, the judge is not required to adjourn (or delay or push back) the court date to give you time to get an attorney. It is your responsibility in civil court (non-criminal court, that is) to get your attorney ahead of time, before the trial or hearing date. At this point though, if you son wants an attorney, he should hire one--let the lawyer deal with the judge, if there is any push-back (that's the lawyer's job: to deal with the case, the law, and the judge).
You son should also bear in mind that there is no right to an appointed lawyer in non-criminal cases: the court doesn't need to give or get you one. He has to find and hire his own attorney; or he can apply to an organization like Legal Services if he can't afford a lawyer and ask if they will represent him, but they don't have to: they choose who to help and who to not help, based on their sense of the case and the person's economic means.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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