Court Proceedings in DCP&P Cases NJ
Elizabeth DYFS Defense Lawyers Near Me NJ
The Division of Child Protection and Permanency can take parents to Court for many reasons. If the Division file any kind of complaint against you, it is important to consult with a seasoned DCP&P defense lawyer who knows how to protect your rights. Generally, there are two types of cases brought by the Division: Protective Services litigation and Guardianship litigation. Protective Services litigation focuses on ensuring that your child is safe, whether in your custody or not. Guardianship litigation regards the termination of your parental rights so that your child can be adopted.
Don’t let child abuse allegations ruin your life, contact the DYFS defense lawyers at the Tormey Law Firm LLC for immediate assistance. Our lawyers know that anyone can report anything to DYFS without any basis or proof and that report must be investigated. As a result, it is imperative that you hire an experienced DCP&P attorney who knows how the system works and knows how to protect your interests, your rights, and your family. Brent DiMarco, a member of our DYFS defense team, has literally handled hundreds of child abuse and neglect allegations and investigations in his career. Moreover, the managing parter of the Tormey Law Firm LLC, Travis J. Tormey, was recently recognized as one of the top 10 criminal defense attorneys in the State of NJ by the American Jurist Institute and he has received the clients choice award from AVVO.com for four straight years. Protect your interests and your rights, contact the Tormey Law Firm today at (908)-356-6900. We represent clients throughout Union County NJ including in Union Twp., Linden, Scotch Plains, Westfield, and Kenilworth.
Can DCP&P take me to court? Yes.
FAQ: Can DCP&P take me to Court?
Yes. The Division can file a complaint against you to take custody of your child. But, even if the Division does not take custody of your child, the Division can file a complaint against you for other reasons resulting in a court battle. When the New Jersey Department of Children and Families, through its Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P), learns of child abuse or neglect through anonymous reports, physicians, teachers, law enforcement or others obligated to report child abuse or neglect, it investigates the allegations and, within 24 hours of receiving the report, may petition the court to protect an abused or neglected child.
If the Division files a Protective Services complaint against you, it may be for an Order to Investigate, to take Custody of your child, or to compel you to comply with services while the Division maintains Care and Supervision of your child. In any event, the litigation is intrusive into your family life and an experienced DCP&P attorney should represent you in court.
Court Cases under Title 30
During an investigation, if you do not cooperate with the Division, the Division may file a complaint against you for an Order to Investigate under New Jersey’s Title 30. Basically, DCP&P will ask the Superior Court judge to force you to cooperate with the Division’s requests to interview you, your child, or gain entry into your home. But although the Division is required by law to investigate all allegations of abuse and neglect, parents also have rights and it is important to consider legal representation by an experienced DCP&P lawyer if the state files a complaint for an Order to Investigate against you.
In some cases, the Division may not allege that you have abused or neglected your child but that your child’s health and safety is in danger for other reasons and DCP&P will still request Custody, Care and Supervision of your child under New Jersey’s Title 30 and you may lose custody of your child. Another alternative is that DCP&P does not seek custody of your child but only Care and Supervision while you maintain custody of your child and attend services that the Division and Court has deemed appropriate for your family. The bottom line is that any litigation is intrusive and could result in you losing custody of your child.
DCP&P could also file a complaint for Guardianship under New Jersey’s Title 30. This means that the Division is seeking to terminate your parental rights so that your child can be adopted. In other words, the Division is alleging that the relationship between you and your child has harmed or will harm your child to the point where your child would be better off being adopted by another person. Courts seek to resolve Guardianship cases within six months of filing and if the Division files a Guardianship complaint against you, it is imperative to consider consulting with an experienced DCP&P lawyer to discuss your rights and how to fight against the Division in court.
Court Proceedings under Title 9
The Division may also file a complaint against you under New Jersey’s Title 9 alleging that you have abused or neglected your child and the Division may request Custody, Care and Supervision of your child until either DCP&P or the Court determines that you are an appropriate parent. Title 9 of the New Jersey Revised Statutes governing children and the juvenile and family courts lists circumstances, conditions and behaviors amounting to child abuse or neglect, including intentional actions or omissions that create serious physical harm, death, maiming, impairment or the risk of such harm to a child. Such endangering behaviors include failing to protect a child by leaving the child vulnerable to sexual acts; poverty; social isolation; emotional, mental or physical injury; food, clothing, medical care, clean environment and shelter deprivation when the means are there to supply same. Injurious actions, such as sexual acts with a child, willfully abandoning or isolating a child from social engagement, neglecting to protect the child against danger, immoral acts and indecent behavior, or inflicting unnecessary cruel and painful suffering on a child, including misplacing a child in an institution where they don’t belong, also constitute child abuse or neglect.
If any acts of abuse or neglect are alleged against you, you may ultimately face Title 9 court proceedings. If DCPP is seeking to remove your child immediately, the protection process begins with an Order to Show Cause (OSC) and Verified Complaint, detailing the child abuse or neglect allegations and the history of the parents or guardians with DCP&P. A child may have already been removed from the home before the initial OSC if DCPP concluded the child was in imminent danger in their home and there wasn’t enough time to get a court order. If removed, a hearing at which the parents can contest the lawfulness of the removal occurs within 48 hours.
The first hearing in the Chancery Division, Family Part, of the Superior Court, may be heard on an emergency basis with short or no notice to the parents or guardians, if concerns about the immediate needs of the child’s welfare are present. This essentially serves as notification to the parents of the allegations against them. If the child’s welfare is endangered, the court may order the child removed from their home and placed with relatives, friends or foster care, along with no-contact orders, if applicable, and recommended services for the parents or guardians. The division is represented by the Deputy Attorney General’s office, while the child is represented by the Law Guardian, an independent attorney, advocating for their best interests. The parents are entitled to have their own attorney as well.
Title 9 Court Cases are extremely serious and in these cases, you could lose custody of your child if DCP&P files a complaint against you. In addition, parents or guardians who have committed abuse or neglect under Title 9 are registered with New Jersey’s Child Abuse Registry, a registry that alerts your case to DCP&P and other agencies that place children or employ people at worksites with children.
Court for Child Abuse Criminal Charges
The prosecutor in the county where the accused parent or guardian resides may also press charges for a fourth degree crime of child abuse, depending on the circumstances of the case. The criminal portion of the case is then handled in the Superior Court, Criminal Division, while the non-criminal portion is handled in the New Jersey Family Court system. In other words, if you are charged with a criminal offense for child abuse or neglect, you will have to deal with multiple cases in different courts. The criminal portion of your case could result in serious punishments if you are convicted and may even result in a jail sentence. Our attorneys handle all aspects of child abuse cases in New Jersey and we can aggressively defend you in criminal court and family court.
Local Union County DCP&P Defense Lawyers Available Now
If you have a court case involving child abuse and neglect allegations in New Jersey, contact our highly skilled DYFS defense lawyers anytime for a free initial consultation at (908)-356-6900.