Q: Can DHHS revoke my custody based only on the filing of modification of custody alone before any judge signs or trial?
I was convicted of two misdemeanors and am currently a part of a voluntary, non court case with DHHS. They have implemented a family safety plan signed by all parties that my ex husband is not adhering to so I’m not seeing my kids. I was promised unsupervised visits by my DHHS caseworker but now due to a new caseworker being given my case I’m told that no modifications will be made to my family safety plan and that because my ex has filed for a modification of custody, that I am no longer the primary custodial parent of my children and our case hasn’t even been set with a date yet and has never been before a judge. How is it possible that DHHS can remove my custodial rights as a parent without a signed order by the courts and then allow my ex to refuse my visits after he signed a family safety plan that I was told was legally binding. Is my only option to withdraw from voluntary compliance and force them to adjudicate me? We are native, is it possible to move this to tribal court?
A: You may have rights under the Indian Child Welfare Act. If the safety plan through CPS isn't working or isn't being enforced, then you likely need to pursue a custody action and request a hearing date before the judge. You should retain counsel to assist you or will be at a strong disadvantage if the other parent has an attorney and you do not.
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