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2017 SESSION


CHAPTER 676
An Act to amend and reenact 16.1-267 of the Code of Virginia, relating to reimbursement for appointment of guardian ad litem.
[S 1343]
Approved March 20, 2017

 

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1. That 16.1-267 of the Code of Virginia is amended and reenacted as follows:

16.1-267. Compensation of appointed counsel.

A. When the court appoints counsel to represent a child pursuant to subsection A of 16.1-266 and, after an investigation by the court services unit, finds that the parents are financially able to pay for the attorney and refuse to do so, the court shall assess costs against the parents for such legal services in the maximum amount of that awarded the attorney by the court under the circumstances of the case, considering such factors as the ability of the parents to pay and the nature and extent of the counsel's duties in the case. Such amount shall not exceed the maximum amount specified in subdivision 1 of 19.2-163 if the action is in district court.

When the court appoints counsel to represent a child pursuant to subsection B or C of 16.1-266 and, after an investigation by the court services unit, finds that the parents are financially able to pay for the attorney in whole or in part and refuse to do so, the court shall assess costs in whole or in part against the parents for such legal services in the amount awarded the attorney by the court. Such amount shall not exceed $100 if the action is in circuit court or the maximum amount specified in subdivision 1 of 19.2-163 if the action is in district court. In determining the financial ability of the parents to pay for an attorney to represent the child, the court shall utilize the financial statement required by 19.2-159.

In all other cases, except as provided in 16.1-343, counsel appointed to represent a child shall be compensated for his services pursuant to 19.2-163.

B. When the court appoints counsel to represent a parent, guardian or other adult pursuant to 16.1-266, such counsel shall be compensated for his services pursuant to 19.2-163.

C. In any proceeding in which the court appoints a guardian ad litem to represent a child pursuant to 16.1-266, the court shall order the parent, or other party with a legitimate interest who has filed a petition in such proceeding, to reimburse the Commonwealth the costs of such services in an amount not to exceed the amount awarded the guardian ad litem by the court. If the court determines that such party is unable to pay, the required reimbursement may be reduced or eliminated. No party whom the court determines to be indigent pursuant to 19.2-159 shall be required to pay reimbursement except where the court finds good cause to do so. The Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court shall administer the guardian ad litem program and shall report August 1 and January 1 of each year to the Chairmen of the House Appropriations and Senate Finance Committees on the amounts paid for guardian ad litem purposes, amounts reimbursed, savings achieved, and management actions taken to further enhance savings under this program.

2. That for the purposes of this act, "other party with a legitimate interest" shall not include child welfare agencies or local departments of social services.