Lead Counsel independently verifies CPS attorneys in Hampton by conferring with Virginia bar associations and conducting annual reviews to confirm that an attorney practices in their advertised practice areas and possesses a valid bar license for the appropriate jurisdictions.
The possibility of losing your children is more than many parents can bear. Getting the representation you deserve to protect your rights is never more important than when you are faced with a CPS case. You have rights under the law and an experienced CPS attorney will help you navigate the system to work toward a positive outcome for everyone. The LawInfo directory can assist you in finding a verified CPS lawyer in Hampton.
When a CPS worker visits a home, they’ll look for signs that indicate how safe a home is or not. For example, is it exceedingly dirty to the point it poses a health hazard? Is there adequate food? Are there open signs of illegal activity like drug paraphernalia? Are dangerous objects or weapons easily accessible to children? Do the children have appropriate necessities? They won’t expect a spotless, perfect home, just one that meets reasonable safety standards. They’ll also be gauging your and your family’s behavior and will likely want to interview some or all of you to get a better sense of your routine and the kind of home life you have.
CPS can usually only remove a child from their home if there’s a valid, reasonable concern for the child’s safety. An order for removal is typically granted by a judge, either after an investigation or before an investigation if they consider your situation such a severe emergency that it requires instant separation. Emergency removal cases are rare, however, so unless there is an immediate threat, an investigation will need to take place first. Cases of neglect and abuse are the most likely causes for CPS to take your children.
If a CPS caseworker contacts you as part of an investigation against you, you have some options for how to respond. Unless the caseworker has a warrant signed by a judge, you don’t have to let them into your home. You can also refuse to answer questions, and if your kids are home with you, you could prevent the caseworker from interviewing them at that time. However, your case will remain open and the investigation will continue. They may be able to come back with a search warrant to enter your home, get a court order to interview your children, or may even be allowed to interview your kids while they’re at school, even without your permission.
CPS exists to take care of children and families, but the process doesn’t always go perfectly each time. If you have a complaint about a CPS employee, you can try to talk to them directly and then escalate your concern to their manager if the employee is not willing to work things out with you. There are several levels of supervision within the CPS system, and you can escalate complaints all the way up to the state director. Some jurisdictions will even have a dedicated ombudsman who will investigate administrative complaints. If your concern applies more to systematic or policy issues within CPS, you may have related community organizations in your area you can contact, or you can reach out to your state representatives.
Minor children are considered legally dependent on adult caretakers. When a child is left without a guardian who can take care of them, Child Protective Services may intervene and petition the courts to step in to support the child as a dependency case. Children may end up as dependents of the court if there’s evidence that they’re being abused by their parent or guardian, if their caretaker is neglecting or has abandoned them, or if the guardian becomes incarcerated, is struggling with substance abuse, or is otherwise unable to take care of the child. In most cases, the courts will try to assign programs to help the parents or guardians gain resources and education to better care for their children for family reunification. When that’s not possible, the children will usually wind up living with another relative or in foster care.
It is in your best interest to get legal help early on in addressing your situation. There are times when hiring a lawyer quickly is critical to your case, such as if you are charged with a crime. It may also be in your best interest to have a lawyer review the fine print before signing legal documents. A lawyer can also help you get the compensation you deserve if you’ve suffered a serious injury. For issues where money or property is at stake, having a lawyer guide you through the complexities of the legal system can save you time, hassle, and possibly a lot of grief in the long run.
Prepare for your consultation by writing down notes of your understanding of the case, jot down questions and concerns for the attorney, and gather your documents. Remember that you are trying to get a sense of whether the attorney has your trust and can help you address your legal issues. Questions should include how the attorney intends to resolve your issue, how many years he/she has been practicing law and specifically practicing in your area, as well as how many cases similar to yours the attorney has handled. It can also be helpful to broach the subject of fees so that you understand the likely cost and structure of your representation by a specific attorney and/or legal team.
Experience. Regardless of the type of legal matter you need help with, an experienced attorney will usually be able to get you better results.
Competence. Determine an attorney’s expertise by asking about their track record for the issue you need help with resolving.
Fit. There are plenty of good attorneys out there; make sure you find one you are comfortable working with.
Pro se – This Latin term refers to representing yourself in court instead of hiring professional legal counsel. Pro se representation can occur in either criminal or civil cases.
Statute – Refers to a law created by a legislative body. For example, the laws enacted by Congress are statutes.
Subject matter jurisdiction – Requirement that a particular court have authority to hear the claim based on the specific type of issue brought to the court. For example, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court only has subject matter jurisdiction over bankruptcy filings, therefore it does not have the authority to render binding judgment over other types of cases, such as divorce.