What happens if the Division of Youth and Family Services finds, or claims to find, evidence of child abuse or neglect? Will my child be removed from my home? What do I do to defend myself against these allegations?
The attorneys of Maynard & Sumner, LLC, have helped thousands of clients navigate the court system and guide them in their decision-making through informative legal advice. It is our mission to obtain the best possible outcome for clients. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 973-540-0054 or contact us online.
Passaic County DYFS Defense Attorney
If DYFS has notified you that the allegations have been substantiated, chances are that they will file a complaint and an order to show cause with the New Jersey Superior Court, Chancery Division, Family Part. The courts have the following procedure:
- Preliminary hearing: The date of this hearing is usually stated on the order to show cause. At this hearing, the judge will decide whether DYFS has sufficient evidence to continue its case and whether the child should be removed from the home, if he has not been already removed. If the judge believes that DYFS has cause to continue a case, a fact-finding hearing will be scheduled.
- Fact-finding hearing: At this hearing, DYFS must present evidence to the judge that you abused and/or neglected your child. At this hearing, you may present your own defense. If the judge sides in favor with DYFS, a dispositional hearing will be scheduled.
- Dispositional hearing: The judge must now decide what should be done in the best interest of your family, whether it is an assignment of services, counseling or returning your child.
- Reviewing hearing: Multiple review hearings may be scheduled to monitor you and your child’s progress.
- Permanency hearing: If your child has been removed from your custody, within 12 months of the child’s removal, DYFS will present a permanent living plan for your child. Approval remains to the judge’s discretion.
In fact, DYFS can substantiate you for child abuse or neglect without going to Court. DYFS can conduct their own investigation and notify you that you have been substantiated and will be placed on the Child Abuse Registry, unless you appeal their decision within 20 days. The attorneys at Maynard & Sumner have successfully appealed many “in-house” DYFS substantiations to the Office of Administrative Law.
In order to effectively defend yourself and your family, you need an experienced attorney. The aggressive lawyers of Maynard & Sumner, LLC, are not intimidated by DYFS. To learn more about your defenses and how we can help, call for a free consultation at 973-540-0054 or email us about your case.