When CPS caseworkers take your child, your legal rights—at least temporarily—are affected. The DCP&P can remove your child from your custody if your child is in imminent danger. These emergency removals are also called dodd removals. The DCP&P (New Jersey’s CPS agency) must file an order to show cause with the family court. The court can then approve the removal or order the child be returned. If the court approves the removal, it may put your child in the care and custody of the DCP&P. Your child may still be returned to your custody pending an investigation of the reasoning and facts.
Custody in New Jersey is divided into legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody gives you the right to make important decisions about your child, and physical custody gives you the right to live with your child. If you do not have custody, you may still have the right to spend time with your child with parenting time (i.e., visitation), but you do not have the same legal rights custodial parents have.
The family court must approve all removals by the DCP&P. When the court approves a removal, it is essentially revoking your custodial rights. When your child is taken by court order, you no longer have the right to live with your child or, typically, make important decisions. You will still retain the right to visit with your child if the court finds it in your child’s best interests.
This change of custody is usually not permanent. If the DCP&P assumes custody of your child, it must make reasonable efforts to reunite your family. When your child returns home, your custodial rights are effectively reinstated. You will again have the right to live with your child and make decisions about your child.
If the DCP&P has taken your child, you need to be working closely with an experienced New Jersey child abuse defense attorney. An attorney can explain what happens to your rights with each decision the DCP&P or the court makes. An attorney can also help you take steps to get your child and your custodial rights back. Foster placement is only temporary, and there are things you can do to return your child home. But, due to the inefficacies of the New Jersey CPS system, it’s hard to predict exactly what it will take to get your child back. Having an attorney’s assistance can reduce the time you and your child are separated.
If you need a child abuse defense attorney in New Jersey, the Williams Law Group can assist you. Our skilled child abuse defense attorneys will defend your rights every step of the way. Located in Short Hills, New Jersey, Williams Law Group 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.