Do I Need an Attorney to Attend My Child Welfare Hearing?

An Important Day in Court

Being involved in a child welfare case can be a stressful and frightening experience. Your custody rights and your right to see your child may be on the line. While you are permitted to represent yourself in your child welfare case, it may be a mistake to do so. You need an advocate when facing allegations of child abuse or neglect.

If you have an upcoming child welfare hearing, you may be wondering how you can prepare. The child welfare case process is complicated, and New Jersey’s child welfare agency, the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P) can be intimidating to handle. The agency’s responsibility lies in protecting the child, and this sometimes means the parent’s wishes aren’t considered.

If your child must attend the hearing, he or she may be appointed a law guardian. The law guardian will represent your child in the case and so cannot represent you because that would be a conflict of interest. And, while you may receive information about your case and the hearing from the DCP&P, the judge will only consider the facts before them and make decisions that are in the best interests of the child. You may need an attorney to help you articulate your side of the story and your wishes. If you question the evidence against you, an attorney can help you obtain certain documents that you do not have access to, which could help you challenge findings from a child protection investigation. An attorney can also help ensure that any requirements the court subjects you to, such as attending drug treatment or counseling, are reasonable, relevant, and feasible for you to meet.

Consult with an experienced New Jersey child welfare attorney if you have an upcoming child welfare hearing. It is never a good idea to try to defend your child welfare case on your own. It’s also rarely beneficial to hire a matrimonial or family law attorney who advertises that they handle DYFS cases, but spends most of their time getting people divorced. A skilled attorney who has experience with child welfare cases can help you navigate the hearing process and help ensure you are informed and involved along the way. With so much at stake, it is vital you seek experienced representation to help prepare you for your child welfare hearing.

 Do you have an upcoming child welfare hearing? Williams Law Group, LLC can prepare your for your hearing and help you defend your rights. Located in Union, New Jersey, Williams Law Group, LLC provides compassionate and dedicated legal services to Union, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties, and the surrounding areas. Our knowledgeable attorneys handle divorce and family law, child custody, and child abuse/neglect cases. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at info@awilliamslawgroup.com, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation and ultimately get you connected with an experienced New Jersey divorce and child custody attorney.

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