Attorney Get up early to get the DYFS out of your life

All it takes is for one person to call DYFS (aka CPS) to turn their entire life upside down. Some people are more vulnerable than others, especially if they are from the working class or lower socioeconomic status, have a history of drugs or alcohol, or have criminal problems in the past. Because DYFS involvement often does not begin with a court case, many people do not see the need to hire an attorney. They believe that everything will disappear as soon as DYFS realizes that there is nothing there. Unfortunately for many, this is a bad move that could cost them.

What surprises many people is that DYFS is not limited to the original problem that brought them into their lives. For example, if they received a call about child abuse and it turns out to be false, it does not mean they will just leave. If DYFS finds out that you have a history of substance abuse, no matter how small, they can force you to take drug tests. If your children are interviewed and they say something out of context, they can be taken away or you could be forced to receive more services. If you resist, your children may be taken. If you confess to other wrongdoing, such as alcohol abuse, you may receive psychological counseling. By the time people decide that enough is enough, it may be too late.

Many people have called me in the early stages of DYFS involvement. When this happens, there is much that a qualified attorney can do. One of the most important tasks for an attorney at this stage is keeping clients out of the “system.” In other words, limit the evidence that DYFS can gather against the client to close the case. Often times, this involves private medical providers who are not connected with DYFS reviewing the problem in question and writing a report. Interestingly, these reports often do not suggest continued treatment, while DYFS providers suggest long-term treatment that never seems to end.

In addition to gathering evidence to close a case, a DYFS attorney can make other moves that will help you early on. In these situations, sometimes less is more. Only a qualified DYFS attorney will be able to view a situation to determine whether clients should speak or remain silent. Taking a one-size-fits-all approach never works. In some cases, making a statement could close a case. In other cases, silence is the best approach. Whatever the attorney decides to do, it must have a purpose. If a statement is made, the attorney must be present to control the entire questioning.

While the goal is always to avoid court, sometimes forcing litigation is a good strategy, but again, the attorney must really understand your case and the incredible gamble that litigation entails. When the lawyer takes the case to court, he forces DYFS to put all his cards on the table. Without a court case, the attorney may not have access to any evidence. However, once in court, anything is possible. With DYFS providing all allegations to the court, the attorney can now better prepare to defend the case and possibly prevent DYFS from obtaining further damaging evidence against the client. The court also gives the attorney the opportunity to prove the DYFS case early and close it quickly.

When a case is in court, the attorney must constantly push the issue of due process. The discovery must be obtained as soon as possible and, if necessary, a trial must be requested to prove the strength of the case. Most importantly, the attorney must tell the court when and how the case will be closed and what is expected of the clients. Not being 100% specific could lead to disaster, as words can get twisted. The old saying, “give them an inch and they’ll take a mile” has never been more appropriate.

Sometimes there is so much damage that the attorney cannot make DYFS go away instantly no matter how much the clients want it. As a lawyer, you have to play the cards that are dealt to you, and sometimes they are bad cards. However, if the case is not yet in court, there are still many opportunities to close the case and prevent the client from diving further into the system. In these situations, the attorney should contact DYFS as soon as possible and find out what needs to be done to close the case. Because DYFS is known to constantly move the finish line further and further as the client approaches it, it is important to pin down everything that needs to be done to close the case. Therefore, once the client completes these goals, the case should be closed in the absence of extraordinary circumstances. Follow-up is key to making sure there are no new accusations they can use to push back the finish line.

When you don’t have an attorney to help you deal with DYFS, you have no one to protect you. Because it doesn’t cost much to help clients with out-of-court DYFS cases, there is rarely a reason not to hire an attorney. Very often, the earlier you hire a lawyer, the cheaper it will be. Just make sure you hire the right one so that you can take the right steps for your case. As this article has shown, there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

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