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Dec 07,2007
Court rules no right to divorce counsel
by UPI

OLYMPIA, Wash. - The Washington state Supreme Court Thursday rejected a woman's claim she had a right to an attorney appointed at public expense in her divorce case.

The high court ruled 7-2 that a woman's constitutional rights were not violated when she was unable to convince a judge without the help of an attorney to give her custody of her children, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported.

Writing for the majority, Justice Charles Johnson said that although the state Legislature could consider changing the law, divorces are civil matters that do not warrant state-funded counsel.

The case was brought forth by Brenda King, who was divorcing her husband of 10 years, Michael, in Snohomish County Superior Court in 2004, the newspaper reported Thursday.

He had a lawyer. She hired one with her rent money but then couldn't afford to make subsequent payments, so she argued her own case in which her husband was ultimately awarded custody of their children.

© 2007 United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

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