Fact Finding: Title 9 Hearings in NJ
Lawyers against DYFS Hackensack NJ
The DYFS defense lawyers at the Tormey Law Firm LLC know how important your family is to you. That’s why protecting your family and your parental rights is our number one goal. Our team of child abuse defense lawyers has literally been on the other side of these cases: Tom Ercolano, a member of our team, is a former New Jersey Deputy Attorney General who prosecuted DYFS cases for the State of New Jersey for 4 years. Now, he uses that experience and expertise to protect our clients facing similar allegations. In addition, Travis J. Tormey, our managing partner, has a perfect 10.0 rating on AVVO, an attorney rating service, and he has received the client’s choice award for four straight years. Let our experienced attorneys handle these allegations (whether it be a DYFS investigation or a criminal investigation or both). Contact our offices anytime for immediate assistance at 201-556-1570. We represent clients in Mahwah, Roselle Park, New Milford, Teaneck, and Garfield and the initial consultation is always provided free of charge.
Here is a review from one of the many satisfied clients of the Tormey Law Firm:
“Excellent communication and legal skills”
Posted by anonymous
“Tom did an outstanding job with what some would consider a nearly impossible motion and legal action. He was patient, very communicative, friendly and perseverant. He answered every question I had for him with fluency of the law and expediency. I highly recommend his services and will use him again, if needed!”
Title 9: Fact Finding Hearings
FAQ: What is a Fact-Finding?
A trial in which the Division of Child Protection and Permanency tries to prove that you abused or neglected your child.
If DCP&P files a complaint against you in civil court alleging that you abused or neglected your child, it is up to a judge of the New Jersey Superior Court, Civil Division, Family Part, to determine whether or not you actually abused or neglected your child. The Division and your child will each have an attorney and you should also have an experienced DCP&P defense attorney represent you.
A fact-finding is a bench trial in which the Division will attempt to prove that you abused or neglected your child. In other words, there is no jury; rather, one judge will preside over the trial to decide whether or not the Division has proven its case against you by a preponderance of the evidence. That means that the Division needs to prove that it is “more likely than not,” or simply put, fifty-one percent, that you abused or neglected your child within the meaning of New Jersey law.
During a fact-finding, the Division will have their attorney, a Deputy Attorney General, present documentary evidence and call factual witnesses, such as investigators and police officers, and potentially expert witnesses, such as pediatricians and psychologists, to try and prove that you abused or neglected your child. In addition, your child will have their own attorney appointed by the Public Defender’s Office, a Law Guardian, to represent your child’s legal interests. If you cannot afford an attorney, the Public Defender’s Office will also appoint an attorney from the Office of Parental Representation to protect your rights and defend you against the Division’s allegation of child abuse or neglect. A lot is at stake during a fact-finding: if the court upholds the Division’s substantiation of abuse or neglect, DCP&P will maintain a permanent record of the abuse or neglect in the Child Abuse Registry; and your employment, ability to care for your relatives’ children and possibly your future children may be effected.
There are very specific rules and statutes that control what types of documents can be admitted into evidence and what types of questions can be asked of the witnesses during a fact-finding. In addition to the New Jersey Rules of Evidence that apply to every kind of court case, the New Jersey Court Rules and Title 9 Statute have specific sections that apply only to DCP&P cases and fact-findings. It is important to have an experienced DCP&P defense attorney who knows the applicable court rules, rules of evidence, and statutes represent you during a fact-finding to cross-examine the Division’s witnesses and, if need be, present defense documents and witnesses in accordance with those rules.
Before a fact-finding takes place, the Division should provide a list of witnesses and copies of the documents it intends to introduce into evidence during the fact-finding. In addition, the judge presiding over your case may also require your attorney to submit written evidentiary objections before the fact-finding begins. It is important to consult with a seasoned DCP&P defense attorney to prepare your objections and strategy before your fact-finding begins.
If DCP&P alleges that you have abused or neglected your child and regardless of whether or not a fact-finding is already scheduled or will be scheduled, you should contact a DCP&P lawyer to discuss your rights, available defenses, and fact-finding strategy. Contact our DYFS attorneys for immediate assistance at 201-556-1570. The initial consultation is always provided free of charge.