Is 19 Years Old Still A Teenager In New Jersy Lawyer Up Early to Get DYFS Out of Your Life

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Lawyer Up Early to Get DYFS Out of Your Life

All it takes is for one person to call DYFS (aka CPS) for you to have your whole life turned upside down. Some people are more vulnerable than others, especially if they are working class or from a lower socio-economic status, have a history of drugs or alcohol or have some criminal past. Because DYFS involvement often does not begin with a court case, many people do not see the need to hire an attorney. They think it will all go away once DYFS realizes nothing is there. Unfortunately for many, this is a bad move that could cost them.

What catches many people by surprise is that DYFS is not limited to the original issue that brought them into your life. For example, if they’ve received a call about child abuse and it turns out to be false, it doesn’t mean they’re just going to walk away. If DYFS discovers that you have a history of substance abuse, however minor, they may require you to submit to drug testing. If they interview your kids and they say something out of context, they can be removed from you or you could be forced to get more services. If you resist, your children may be taken. If you confess to other misdeeds such as alcohol abuse, you may find yourself in counseling. By the time people decide enough is enough, it may be too late.

Many people have called me in the very early stages of getting involved with DYFS. When this happens, there is only so much a skilled attorney can do. One of the most important tasks for a lawyer at this stage is to keep clients out of the “system”. In other words, limit the evidence DYFS can gather against the client to close the case. Often, this involves getting private medical providers not affiliated with DYFS to look into the matter at hand and write a report. Oddly enough, these reports often do not suggest ongoing treatment, while DYFS providers suggest prolonged treatment that seems never to end.

In addition to gathering evidence to close a case, a DYFS attorney can make other moves that will help get you started. In these situations, sometimes less is more. Only a skilled DYFS attorney will be able to look at a situation to determine whether clients should speak or remain silent. Taking a one-size-fits-all approach never works. In some cases, making a statement can close a case. In other cases, silence is the best approach. Whatever the lawyer decides to do, it must have a purpose. If a statement is made, the lawyer must be present to check all questions.

While avoiding court is always the goal, sometimes forcing litigation is a good strategy, but again, the attorney must truly understand his/her case and the incredible game that litigation involves. When the lawyer forces the case to court, he forces the DYFS to lay all their cards on the table. Without a court case, the lawyer cannot have access to any evidence. However, once in court, anything is possible. With DYFS providing all charges to the court, the attorney can now better prepare to defend the case and possibly prevent DYFS from obtaining more damaging evidence against the client. The court also gives counsel the opportunity to try the DYFS case early and close it quickly.

When a case is in court, the lawyer must constantly push the issue of due process. Discovery should be obtained as soon as possible and if necessary, a trial should be sought to test the strength of the case. Most importantly, the lawyer must decide in court when and how the case will be closed and what is expected of the clients. Failure to be 100% specific can lead to disaster as words can be distorted. The old saying, “give them an inch and they’ll take a mile” has never been more appropriate.

Sometimes there is just so much damage done that the attorney can’t get DYFS to go away right away, no matter how much the clients want it. As a lawyer, you have to play the cards you’re dealt, and sometimes they’re bad cards. However, if the case is not yet in court, there are still many opportunities to close the case and prevent the client from falling deeper into the system. In these situations, the attorney should contact DYFS as soon as possible and find out what needs to be done to close the case. Because DYFS has been known to constantly move the finish line farther and farther as the client gets closer, it’s important to nail them on everything that needs to be done to close the case. Thus, once the client meets these goals, the case should be closed absent some exceptional circumstances. Follow-up is essential to ensure there are no new claims they can use to move the finish line further.

When you don’t have an attorney to help you deal with DYFS, you have no one to defend you. Because it doesn’t cost much to help clients with DYFS cases out of court, there is rarely a reason not to hire an attorney. Very often, the earlier you hire a lawyer, the cheaper it will be. Just make sure you hire the right one so he or she can make the right moves for your case. As demonstrated in this article, there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

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