There are a variety of circumstances where a court appointed lawyer may be appropriate. You have to show that you are indigent and have to be approved by the court.
As many people know in criminal cases, because of some constitutional protections you are entitled to a lawyer and again, a court appointed one if you qualify. In most DCF cases, including what is called a Care and Protection case, your parents, children and potentially the guardian or somebody who has custody maybe entitled to a court appointed attorney.
Additionally, what used to be called a “CHINS” case and is now called a “CRA” the children are appointed a court appointed attorney and the parents or guardians may also be appointed an attorney if they wish and if custody may potentially be removed from that guardian.
In addition, more recently there has been appointments in Guardianship cases for both children and parents if they request one and again, if determined to be indigent. There also is a variety of cases in mental health matters; including several commitments where parties are entitled to court appointed attorneys.
Generally, in divorce and family law, there is not an entitlement in most cases to a court appointed attorney, you can see whether you qualify for legal services or pro bono attorney and some courts have a lawyer for a day. There are a variety of exceptions, including sometimes if there is a contempt proceeding where jail time is a possibility, a court appointed attorney maybe appointed.
Again, you need to qualify, which means that you have to provide financial information to what is considered probation or family services depending on the court and have to be approved for indingency by the court. It does mean that there is a payment that you might have to make; which is $150.00 to $200.00 and sometimes more if you are determined to be marginally indigent. You have time to make that payment and sometimes you are able to do community service instead of making that payment, but it depends on the court, the Judge and the type of case you have.