By: Leslie Barrows
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CPS Investigations During a Divorce
Steps to Take if There is a CPS Investigation During a Divorce
Imagine being contacted by a Child Protective Services (“CPS”) caseworker intending to talk to your family in connection with a CPS investigation during a divorce. You are shocked and do not know what to do. Should you talk to them because not talking to them might make you look guilty or something? Are you afraid that if you insist on your lawyer being present it looks like you are covering something up?
Southlake divorce attorney Leslie Barrows is the principal attorney at the Barrows Firm and people frequently ask her questions about CPS investigations during divorces. Attorney Barrows often explains to people is that the CPS caseworker is simply doing their job and it is part of a process when they receive a communication from someone who makes a CPS inquiry or allegation of abuse or neglect of a child.
In this short article, there are a few tips to understanding how CPS cases work and steps to take if there is a CPS investigation during or after your divorce. If you need help now or have questions, don’t wait to call the Barrows Firm in Southlake and talk to Leslie Barrows or Amanda Roark.
What Does CPS Do When They are Investigating During a Divorce?
CPS in Texas is a part of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). The role of CPS is to keep children safe from abuse or neglect. If someone makes a phone call to the CPS hotline, then CPS must follow up on that report to find out if something is going wrong.
Initial contact with CPS does not mean there will necessarily be a formal investigation into abuse and or neglect. They might let you know that a report was made against you. If CPS determines an investigation is necessary because there is proof or a significant threat of harm to your child, they must start their investigation within 72 hours of the phone call reporting an incident.
Texas Department of Family and Protective Services Website: When and How to Report Child Abuse
Did You Know Many People Including Teachers are Mandatory Reporters?
The mandatory reporting laws require teachers, doctors, nurses, clergy, and other trusted people that work with and around children, to report suspicions of abuse or neglect to CPS. They can lose their licenses if they fail to report suspected abuse. In many cases, a kid might have been bruised or injured just being a kid, but in other cases, a mandatory reporter stumbles upon something more.
Reports made to CPS are anonymous and you may never know who called them. It could be just about anyone and trying to find out is a waste of time. The most important thing to do is make sure that you manage your stress level and keep your family safe and sound, ideally with the help of an experienced family lawyer who can help you through the process and answer your questions.
Texas Department of Family and Protective Services Website: Learn More About Mandatory Reporters
Knock, Knock, CPS is at Your Door! What Should You Do?
They are not law enforcement. They cannot detain you. You do not have to talk to them. They cannot pull your kid out of your house. They might try to talk to your kid at school.
Step one is to CALL A FAMILY LAWYER (817) 481-1583. You need to know your rights as a parent. Attorney Leslie Barrows has worked in divorce and family law cases with the full focus of her career as an attorney and CPS cases are certainly a part of her wheelhouse.
It will help you prepare for the right time to talk to the CPS caseworker if you take notes about everything that is going on and what was said. Be prepared to be pleasant and honest when answering their questions with or without an attorney present. It may seem like you are playing a game, but when you play it right you are allowing the CPS caseworker to close their investigation.
How Will This Affect the Divorce and Custody Case if There is an Investigation During a Divorce?
If you are seeking to be the primary parent and have sole custody of your children in a divorce, a CPS case on you or your spouse is going to be a big deal to your judge and it is necessary to have an experienced family law attorney representing you. If you are doing a simple divorce without a lawyer, you need to hire one if you want custody of your children.
What is The Family Plan Following a CPS Investigation During a Divorce?
Please do not think that CPS is only in the business of removing children to place them into foster care. If something was going on in your family and something happened to a child, it could be appropriate for CPS to put everyone on a family plan where the parents attend the proper parenting classes, counseling, or whatever is required to show CPS that children are not in any direct danger or at risk of current or future abuse or neglect.