As a parent, you have a right to attend child welfare court proceedings regarding your child. Appearing in court is important because it gives you an arena in which to contribute to the decisions made about your child’s placement. You might feel nervous in court or feel like no one will listen to you. These are natural concerns given the circumstances. The DCP&P is indeed your adversary in the case, and so what you say and do in court can be held against you. But if you familiarize yourself with the court proceedings and prepare for your appearance, you will be better equipped to make meaningful contributions to the process.
Child welfare cases can remain in litigation for several months or even years. You could attend many different hearings over the course of your case. Speak with an attorney about the hearing you will attend, so you know the purpose of each one before you arrive. This is an important part of preparation because some hearings will be nothing more than a placement review while in others very important decisions regarding your parental rights may be made. Accordingly, your role in each hearing will vary, but an attorney can help you prepare, so you know what to do and what to say when in court. Knowing what to expect is always step one.
Step two is knowing how to act in a courtroom setting. Like any court hearing, displaying respect for all those involved is paramount. It can be difficult to display anything other than fear and worry, but being respectful, dressing appropriately, speaking when you are asked to speak, and being prepared to answer are all important. If reunification is your goal, each hearing is a chance to reiterate your dedication to the well-being of your child. You will also need to follow many procedural rules such as what you need to do before each hearing, what you need to bring, and timelines for responses.
If you have a child welfare hearing coming up, you should consult with a New Jersey child welfare attorney with experience in DCP&P litigation. Navigating the litigation process can be extremely overwhelming for a parent separated from his or her child and just as traumatic for the child. Working closely with an attorney during this process can ensure you can make meaningful contributions and your rights are fully defended.
Do you have questions about your role in child welfare proceedings? If so, Williams Law Group, LLC can help. Our skilled attorneys can help you ensure you are prepared to appear in court and contribute in a productive way. Located in Short Hills, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.