Q: Do I need a lawyer to fight child protective services?
Husband and I got into a dispute that involved pushing. No one was injured and my 12 year old daughter was in the room. Now I have a case open with DCP&P and my husband is not allowed back in my home. Seems like a far reach for a fight that wasn’t that serious. We don’t know what to do but can’t afford to have him in a hotel every night and also can’t afford a big time lawyer to fight DCP&P. Honestly we just want to go back to our mundane lives this is way out of hand now. They made me sign some safety plan that involved my kids getting psychological testing and then when I said I want to recant my signature the worker said she would request a removal. Also this is a one time thing we have never got into a domestic dispute before so there is zero history of this.
A: The answer really depends on the situation. Generally, I recommend a lawyer be retained because these problems can lead to criminal charges being filed especially if you think they are going to seek a removal of the child from the home. However, the best time to hire a lawyer was as soon as DCCP got involved. Now what should you do is based on the facts of your case and since we know very few it would be impossible to properly guide you. I suggest you setup a consultation with a lawyer the consultation may cost a few hundred dollars or so, but it could save you thousands later.
A: Politely, I'm not sure that you are grasping the severity of your current setting and your response to an inquiry by DCCP has the potential to make things worse. You and your partner had a physical altercation in the presence of your child, and someone called the police and reported a domestic violence-type incident taking place. Whenever the police are called and there is an allegation of physical violence taking place in the presence of children, the police automatically notify DCPP, who then must come out and investigate. In response, most people acknowledge that the behavior is harmful to their child and are willing to work with DCPP on a plan for counseling and anger management so that it never happens again in the presence of the child. The problem is when someone is dismissive of the significance of the incident or what the child witnessed or suggests that everything is fine and there is no need for any plan, counseling, or intervention - that is when DCPP is most concerned because it tells them that the parties fail to recognize the problems taking place and fail to understand the impact on their child. You would be better off scheduling a meeting with the DCPP rep and working on a specific plan so that they know that everyone is on board and willing to change the trajectory of this family's path.
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