A CPS worker showed up at your house because someone made a claim that your kids aren’t being properly supervised. Or maybe the allegation was that there isn’t enough food, or perhaps that you discipline too harshly. Whatever it was, CPS got involved, and now they’re threatening to take your kids away. Like most parents, you’re terrified and frightened and angry. But most of all, you’re scared. You have no idea what to do, or what to expect. Which is where we come in. Let’s unpack the process, so you know what you’re up against, and what your options are.
First, CPS files their petition with the family court
If the Judge who reads the petition believes that there’s enough evidence to support the agency’s claims of abuse or neglect, they can authorize the petition. If this happens, you have the right to have a trial where you’ll be able to defend yourself against the allegations. (Or you can choose to forgo the trial and plead guilty, but we would never advise that!) However, because the law requires that if you choose to go to trial, it must happen within six months. So if you don’t already have a good defense lawyer, you’ll need to get one now!
So what happens to your children?
Either CPS has already taken your children, or the original petition they filed with the court includes a request that your children be removed from your home and placed into protective custody, a preliminary hearing will be held. A preliminary hearing is a formal review of the petition where the Judge reviews the evidence against you, and decides whether or not to authorize the filing of the petition.
Before a Judge can authorize a petition, they have to decide if there’s ‘probable cause’. This means that one or more of the allegations against you are believed to be true. It’s important to know that Michigan’s evidentiary rules don’t apply in these cases. In fact, in most situations the only evidence is the testimony given by the CPS worker who filed the petition against you. And as you can expect, they’ll say whatever they have to, in order to get the petition filed by the court.
This is why you need an experienced CPS defense attorney!
CPS workers lie. They lie to judges in court, they lie on the paperwork they file about your case, and they lie to you. And unfortunately, they are hardly ever any repercussions for this dishonesty. Which is why you need a skilled defense attorney who has years of experience handling CPS and their bullying tactics and deceitfulness.
If you’re going to have a shot at defeating the petition early, and getting your kids back as soon as possible, you’ll need skilled legal representation. Your attorney (assuming you got a good one) will fight to ensure that you’re not railroaded by CPS. If the Judge doesn’t authorize the petition, the child must be released back into their parent’s custody. And that’s the goal here – to get your kids back and get CPS out of your life.
Highly skilled CPS defense attorneys aren’t as common as you’d think!
Join us again to see what happens next in the petition process. Until then, if you’re facing a CPS petition and are at risk of having your children taken, call us immediately at 866 766 5245. We have years of experience fighting CPS and are well acquainted with their fear tactics, and have successfully defended countless parents against their lies. Don’t wait and hope for a good outcome – you need to take decisive action, and we can help you do that!