If you are desperate to get custody of your child, you might feel like your options are limited. Custody disputes can be lengthy, contentious, and cost the whole family time and money. And many parents aren’t happy with the outcome of taking their custody battle to court. Some parents make the mistake of calling CPS in a desperate attempt to get custody. But what those parents don’t realize is once CPS is involved, they don’t get to call the shots. What follows is often a host of unintended consequences the parent has no control over. It’s no wonder many parents refer to calling CPS as opening Pandora’s box.
A Game of He Said, She Said
The Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P) is New Jersey’s CPS agency. Once you submit a report to the DCP&P, caseworkers may begin an investigation. In the meantime, you may have custody of your child. But what many parents don’t foresee is the alleged child abusing parent making allegations against them, which sends the caseworkers back to you to prompt an investigation. Then, caseworkers could take your child and put him or her in foster placement while they investigate the allegations.
A Better Option
If you fear for your child’s safety when he or she is with the other parent, the DCP&P is not the proper agency to contact. Instead, ask the family court for temporary custody, so your child’s safety is ensured while the fitness of the other parent is examined and a long-term custody arrangement is established.
Do not withhold your child from the other parent if he or she has custodial or visitation rights without good cause. If you plan to withhold your child, immediately seek a court order. Otherwise, your actions could be considered custody and visitation interference. You could then become involved with the DCP&P or even face criminal charges. Instead, contact a New Jersey child custody attorney with experience handling both custody and CPS cases. A knowledgeable attorney can help you decide the best way to protect your custody rights and your child’s best interests.