Whenever a child is removed from the home, the New Jersey courts must be involved. The Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P)—New Jersey’s child welfare agency—cannot keep a child from his or her parents without a court order, so the agency must file a court case, which commences litigation, whenever it removes a child from the home.
The parties to the case include the parent(s) of the child and the DCP&P. These types of cases are adversarial. The DCP&P is the plaintiff or the party that initiates the suit, and the parents are the defendants. Both parties—the litigants—to the case have a right to legal representation. The parents are typically represented by private attorneys or court-appointed attorneys, while the DCP&P is represented by a deputy attorney general.
The deputy attorney general will file a complaint with the family court to open the case and ask the judge to give the DCP&P temporary legal and physical custody of the child. If granted, the removal is approved, and the child will not be returned to his or her parents at that time.
Many parents feel the system is designed to put them at a disadvantage. Indeed, the State of New Jersey represents New Jersey’s child welfare agency. While this might seem like a conflict of interest, the agency and the attorney general’s office operate as separate entities. Nevertheless, with such a powerful opposing counsel, you shouldn’t try to handle the litigation process on your own.
It’s easy to feel like the system is against you in every way when you are involved in child welfare litigation with the State of New Jersey. Many defendants equate this to a David and Goliath scenario. Enlisting the help of a private attorney with experience handling these types of cases can level the playing field significantly. Find an experienced New Jersey child abuse defense attorney who has litigated cases and knows the ins and outs of defending parents against the State. Don’t make the mistake of trying to face your adversaries alone when the stakes are so high. Although you might not feel like you have a voice in these hearings, these are excellent opportunities to argue your point and clear your name, so you can be reunited with your child.
Are you involved in child welfare litigation? If so, Williams Law Group, LLC can help. Our skilled attorneys can advise you of your rights and help you defend yourself against the DCP&P. 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.