Managing a Texas Family Law Case, Part Three

Facing a situation involving Child Protective Services (CPS) can indeed be overwhelming, leaving you feeling like you have no rights or control over the proceedings. The prospect of them removing your children from your home can be distressing, and it’s natural to wonder about the extent of their authority. However, it’s crucial to understand that you do have rights and options in such situations. Seeking legal counsel from a knowledgeable advocate, such as the Woodlands custody lawyer, can empower you with the guidance and information needed to navigate the complexities of CPS involvement effectively.

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, recognizes the fear of the unknown that often accompanies family law cases. To address this, we have initiated a series of blog posts covering various aspects of family law, with today’s focus remaining on CPS cases. In today’s discussion, we will delve into your rights in a CPS case, aiming to provide clarity and guidance on this often complex matter.

Your Rights in a Child Protective Services (CPS) Case

Let’s begin by revisiting the information shared in yesterday’s blog. First and foremost, you have the right to legal representation in your CPS case, especially if there is a potential threat to terminate your parental rights. If financial constraints prevent you from securing an attorney, it’s essential to notify the judge of your situation, as they may appoint one for you.

One fundamental right that should offer some reassurance is that both CPS and the judge must provide you with notice of any hearings, ensuring you are aware of the date and time. Even if you have limited experience with legal proceedings, this right ensures your presence at hearings and the opportunity to voice your opinions.

On a more fundamental level, your CPS caseworker must keep you informed about your child’s case and provide regular updates on their well-being. Although they may not always be immediately available for calls, their office must ensure that any phone messages left are returned either by the CPS caseworker or their supervisor. Demonstrating your ongoing interest and maintaining open communication may influence the judge presiding over your case.

A Closer Look at the Individuals Involved in Your CPS Case

The CPS caseworker is undeniably a central figure in your CPS case. Following your child’s removal from your home, you will receive the CPS caseworker’s name and contact details. Within a few weeks of your child’s removal, another caseworker will be assigned to your case.

This caseworker assumes a crucial role by offering you additional information and requesting further details about your child and the circumstances surrounding their removal. Importantly, they are tasked with monitoring your child’s well-being and addressing any inquiries about their welfare while they remain under CPS care. Additionally, the development of a service plan is often necessary, outlining CPS’s requirements for your child’s eventual return home.

As a general rule, applicable not only to your caseworker but also to many other individuals discussed in this section, if you do not hear from your caseworker for an extended period, it is wise to take the initiative and reach out to them. Open communication is key throughout this process.

Hiring an Attorney for Your CPS Case

If you choose to hire an attorney or are appointed one by the judge, they will diligently review your case with you to gain a comprehensive understanding of your child, your family, and the circumstances that led to your child’s removal from your home. It is crucial that you provide all necessary details to your attorney, as there may be critical aspects of your case that you may have overlooked, which can significantly impact the swift return of your child to your family.

During court proceedings, your attorney will speak and advocate on your behalf. CPS hearings vary in length and complexity, so having an attorney by your side to navigate these hearings is indispensable. Unless you have a legal background, it is unlikely that you will grasp all the intricacies well enough to represent yourself effectively.

Moreover, beyond courtroom appearances, your attorney will serve as your guide during the majority of your CPS case when you are not in court. Understanding the nuances of your case and comprehending the judge’s decisions or actions during hearings is essential. Your attorney will facilitate your understanding of these issues and help you apply your rights effectively. The rights you possess remain theoretical unless you fully grasp and can employ them correctly, and your attorney will play a pivotal role in this regard.

As discussed in the previous section on CPS caseworkers, the service plan is a critical component that can significantly impact your case, potentially shortening its duration and leading to the return of your children to your care. Adhering precisely to the plan outlined in your agreement with CPS is paramount, and your attorney can act as an accountability partner to ensure its successful execution.

Ensuring you have an attorney to advocate for your rights is crucial because CPS will have their attorney representing their interests and rights throughout your case. The CPS attorney’s objective will be to present the judge with reasons supporting CPS’s need to retain custody of your child.

Two essential figures involved in your CPS case are the Attorney Ad Litem and the Court Appointed Special Advocate. The court will appoint an attorney ad litem to represent your child’s interests by meeting with your child to gain a better understanding of their situation and advocating for what is in your child’s best interests in court.

You may be inclined to think, “I’m the child’s parent; I should be the one doing this.” While that’s true to some extent, the reality is that your interests and those of your children may not always align precisely in a CPS case. Consequently, a separate and independent representative is appointed to advocate solely for your child.

In addition to the attorney ad litem, the court may assign a court-appointed special advocate (CASA) to your case. This individual is a volunteer with specialized training in family law and CPS cases, functioning similarly to the attorney ad litem by advocating for your child.

The CASA representative will meet with you, your child, and other relevant parties to the case to make individual assessments and recommendations to the judge. However, it’s important to note that the CASA representative is not an attorney and will not assume that role during your hearing.

Mediation in CPS Cases

In most CPS cases, mediation is a likely step in the process, involving at least one mediator. We previously discussed the role of a mediator in family law cases in an earlier blog post, with similar principles applying to CPS cases.

The primary difference lies in the mediation process itself. While family law mediations often involve parties in separate rooms, CPS mediation typically occurs in real-time, with all parties and their respective attorneys present in the same room. The ultimate goal remains consistent: to avoid going to court and instead reach a settlement on the outstanding issues within your CPS case.

Coming Up Next

In our upcoming blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, on Family Law cases, we will conclude our discussion on CPS by delving into the legal steps in the process, starting from the initial hearing and proceeding through to the trial.

If you have any questions for our attorneys regarding family law or any other related topic, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. Our licensed family law attorneys are available to assist you in arranging a free consultation to address your inquiries comprehensively.

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  1. Managing a Family Law case in Texas
  2. Texas Family Courts: Child Protective Services, Part Two
  3. How to present yourself and testify well in court during your divorce case, Part Two
  4. What to know about Child Protective Services
  5. Child Protective Services Investigation- What to expect and how to handle the situation
  6. Child Protective Services Investigation- What to expect and how to handle the situation, Part 2
  7. Child Protective Services Investigation- What to expect and how to handle the situation, Part 3
  8. 16 Steps to help you Plan and Prepare for your Texas Divorce
  9. How to present yourself and testify well in court during your divorce case
  10. Tips on giving in-court testimony in your divorce or child custody case
  11. Getting Ready for a Hearing On Temporary Custody Orders
  12. Geographic Restrictions in Child Visitation Orders in Texas
  13. The Dirty Trick of Moving Out of State with the Kids

Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, Texas CPS Defense Lawyers

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding CPS, it’s essential to speak with one of our Houston, TX CPS defense lawyers right away to protect your rights.

Our cps defense lawyers in Houston, TX, are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, handles cps cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, Houston, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County, and Waller County.

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At the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, the firm wants to get to know your case before they commit to work with you. They offer all potential clients a no-obligation, free consultation where you can discuss your case under the client-attorney privilege. This means that everything you say will be kept private and the firm will respectfully advise you at no charge. You can learn more about Texas divorce law and get a good idea of how you want to proceed with your case.

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