Within a Texas CPS case, you may be asked to sign certain documents throughout your experience with CPS. These documents can range from service plans, safety plans, temporary orders, and even family-based safety services. These documents are essential and are not mere suggestions for planning the remaining portions of your family law case. Rather, these are requirements of you to fulfill your CPS case's obligations in eventually having your child returned home to you. In the case of a family-based safety services matter, your child would likely have not been removed from your home, but the requirements for CPS to cease their investigation of you will mandate that you complete the steps outlined in these agreements.
As with any documents, if you sign your name on the dotted line, you will be responsible for what is included in that document. Stating that you did not understand something or did not read the document thoroughly does not defense your failure to live up to some aspect of those agreements. Rather, you will be held responsible for the agreements made previously whether or not you understood every aspect of them.
Whether or not you follow the agreements and orders during your Child Protective Services case will determine in large part whether or not your child will be reunited with you at the end of the case. Keep in mind that the options available to a CPS court judge are fairly diverse in their impact on your relationship with your children in the future. You could have your parental rights terminated if you fail to follow through with any other requirements as contained in these agreements and orders. On the other hand, you may also have your parental rights and limited ability to spend time with your child supervised at least shortly.
If you can live up to the terms of these agreements and orders and follow through with their steps as laid out in various service plans and safety plans, you will have an excellent chance of having your child returned to your home and to have your CPS case closed. Oftentimes it is not a matter of being willing to follow through with these orders. Still, it is more so understanding of what your responsibilities are and understanding the requirements in full. Unless you have a hey great deal of experience in CPS cases, then it is unlikely that you will have a great deal of knowledge on how to proceed during a case.
Two sorry buddies, with that being said, you will need to pay close attention to the orders and agreements that you signed in likely have an experienced family law attorney representing you throughout your case. When you have proper legal representation, you will be able to take advantage of the resources made available to you through CPS and put yourself in the best position possible to quickly finish your case and have your child returned to your home without issue.
Everything that we have discussed so far in this blog post leads to your case's final stages. How well a trial goes, whether or not your child can be returned home to you, and if you can avoid having your front door it's termite depend in large part on your ability to understand and live up to the terms contained in the documents that you signed along with Child Protective Services. That will be the subject matter of today's blog posts. It is something that I believe is extremely important for you to be able to understand as you head into the final stages of a CPS case.
What is the final hearing in connection with a Texas CPS case?
Your CPS trial or final hearing will be set well in advance of the actual date and time of that hearing. Typically speaking, but final hearing or trial will occur approximately 1 year at the latest after your child is removed from your home. If your child has not been returned to you as part of a monitoring situation and the court does not find extraordinary circumstances for allowing an extension of the one-year deadline, a trial must be held.
The purpose of that trial is to obtain a final order regarding the termination of your parental rights, conservatorships, and other issues related to your case. I did that order must be signed by all parties involved, including the court, or the case must be dismissed. At a final hearing, the CPS court judge will likely determine whether or not your child will be returned to you, adopted out, or whether your parental rights will be terminated or restricted in some way. As I mentioned in the opening portions of today's blog post, your ability to follow the orders as contained in your temporary orders in status hearings will determine whether or not you're child is returned home to you.
What happens in a monitored return about your child?
Along the way, the judge in your case may believe that your child is safe to be returned to your home and can order a monitored return of your child. If the court proceeds in this way, a new deadline of six months from the date on which the court ordered their return will be set for your case to either have a final hearing or trial. A monitored return involves the Department of family and Protective Services, maintaining your child's temporary custody, but your child will be placed with you. This means that your child can and will have decisions made for them by the state but that the state will allow your child to live with you during this time.
The real purpose of a monitored return is to allow you and your child to readjust to living with one another and test run issues that may result in your child being returned home. For instance, many of the problems in your home that led to your child removal may surround the stress that you feel in having to raise him or her. While you have undoubtedly been intending counseling and therapy sessions, it is likely that you would have developed some coping mechanisms but will need time to learn how to adjust those coping mechanisms to living again with your child.
This monitored return stage is a perfect opportunity for you to practice the skills you have developed in therapy and utilize them in the real world. We should also not underestimate just how difficult it may be for your child to reintegrate into your household. I fully realize that your child may have only been out of your house for a few months, but that can be a long time for a child depending upon their age. While you may be overjoyed at your child's return to your home, your child may feel different due to the circumstances that caused him to leave in the 1st place.
Having honest discussions with your child and even involving your child in therapy or counseling with you can be a great advantage for you to have as apparent. I've worked with many parents who have gone out of their way to involve their children in their lives and take a more active role in parenting after temporarily returning their child. While there is no such thing as a quick fix regarding custody and conservatorships issues, a CPS case's monitored return aspect can be extremely beneficial for both parents and children.
If a monitored return is not successful, then your child can be removed from your home once again. A second removal from your home during this stage can be cut short by a judge. The second removal will be brought before a judge to determine whether or not sufficient cars exist for doing so. If the court does agree with the removal, then the judge will issue a dismissal date the original case dismissal date. The most likely outcome of your child being removed from your home a second time is that a final hearing or trial will be set almost immediately to bring some permanency to the case.
At what point can your parental rights be terminated in a Texas CPS case?
In reality, a Texas CPS court judge will look to termination of parental rights as a last recourse. This is because it is relatively difficult to overturn a trial court decision terminating appearance parental rights. Since there is little chance to go back and address a wrong Lee decided CPS case involving the termination of parental rights, judges are very judicious in their approach to handing out this kind of result.
The evidentiary standard for terminating your parental rights Anna CPS case is high. Specifically, to terminate your parental rights about your child, the judge would need to find by clearing convincing evidence that there is a ground for termination in place and that doing so would be in your child's best interest. Keep in mind that, like in a criminal case, the burden of proof is not on you to prove that these two elements, or at least one of them, are not in place. Rather, if the Department of Family and Protective Services wants to move forward with terminating your parental rights, it must prove that both of these elements are in place.
Clear and convincing evidence re standard means that the Department of Family and Protective Services must show the family court judge when requesting that your parental rights be terminated that there is little doubt and that at most, a scant amount of evidence to the contrary exists. In a criminal case, beyond a reasonable doubt standard is applied, which is a lower bar in clear and convincing evidence. A preponderance of the evidence standard is utilized in a civil case, which is even easier to meet in terms of a party only needs to show that it is more likely than not that their position is correct.
What are the grounds by which CPS can terminate your parental rights?
The Texas family code lists over 20 different grounds for termination of a parent's parental rights about their child. This is an exhaustive list as far as the state is concerned, and they must be able to prove one of these grounds to be able to have your parental rights terminated. Parental abandonment or the failure to cooperate with service and safety plans during a CPS case is among the most common grounds cited in Texas CPS cases for terminating parental rights. Additionally, if you have endangered your child somehow, and that is proven by clear, convincing evidence, then your parental rights may also be terminated.
How does a court determine what is in the best interest of your child?
The second part of the question that a court would have to answer about whether or not to terminate your parental rights would be regarding whether it is in your child's best interest to do so. For anyone familiar with the blogs we post on our website, you likely know that the child standard's best interest is applied across the board in family law cases involving children.
There are several factors that a court will weigh in determining the best interests of your child. The Texas family code provides a generalized list of factors that can be considered by a judge, but no one is more important than any other. When determining the best interest of your child during a Department of family and Protective Services case, the judge will likely look at each of the following factors as outlined in the Texas family code.: the stability of your household, the extent to which your child was harmed as a result of the CPS case and its allegations, the age of your child and their mental condition, whether your child is fearful of living in the home with you, the results of any psychiatric or developmental evaluations made about your child, whether or not there is a history of abuse or substance abuse in the home, whether or not your child's family has demonstrated adequate parenting skills and whether an adequate social support system is available to your child.
Finally, when a court considers whether or not to terminate your parental rights, these factors will also be important to consider:
- -the desires of your child
- -the emotional and physical needs of your child now and in the future
- -The emotional and physical danger to your child now and in the future
- -Your abilities as a parent and those of any other person seeking custody of your child
- -Any programs, therapies are counseling sessions available to help you and your family promote the best interests of your child
- -your plans for your child's future in comparison to the plans of Child Protective Services
- -disability of your home or disability of the proposed permanent home for your child by CPS
- -any prior X or omissions made by you regarding parenting your child in addition to any excuses for those acts or omissions
As you can tell, the issue of terminating your parental rights can and will get quite complicated. This is understandable given the complexity of other subject matter and how important a decision is to be made by a family court judge. With that said, you have options available to you as far as representation either in hiring a private family law attorney to defend you in an innate parental rights termination case or in having a court appoints you with an attorney. Given the severity of love terminating your parental rights, a court will provide you with an attorney if you can prove that you cannot afford to hire a lawyer on your own.
If at any point during your CPS case, you learn that the agency is attempting to terminate your parental rights, you should seek advice from experienced family law professionals. Keep in mind that the advice provided by an experienced family law attorney with the focus and CPS defense can be invaluable to your case. Imagine trying to climb Mount Everest with no help and no guides. Do you think you could manage to climb the 30,000-foot hunk of rock without someone there to help you? I doubt it a great deal. Consider the CPS case your personal Mount Everest and work to ensure that you have the appropriate guides to lean on for support along the way.
Questions about the material contained in today's blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
if you have any questions about the material contained in today's blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law and the services that can be provided to you as one of our clients. Thank you for your interest in this topic and our law practice, and we look forward to the opportunity of serving you and your family in the future.
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Other Articles you may be interested in:
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- CPS and how The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC can help
- Take control of your child’s CPS case by following these tips
- How to stand up for yourself during a Texas CPS case
- How to prevent a second CPS investigation after your first concludes
- Family Law Cases in Texas: The final stages of a CPS case
- When can CPS remove your child from your home in Texas and what can you do about it?
- What to do if you no longer like your CPS service plan?
- In what circumstances could your child end up living with your relative during a CPS case?
- What can a CPS investigation into your family mean now and in the future?
- What to do if your spouse is being investigated by CPS in Texas for abuse or neglect of your child?
- Can CPS photograph your house and request your child’s medical records in Texas?
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 important 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 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 defense cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, 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.