Defending Parents in Court
Hard-Hitting Litigation Strategies from Our Lansing CPS Attorney
Being brought to court on a child abuse or neglect charge can be emotionally devastating, especially if you have never encountered the court system before. Many parents in these circumstances must confront aggressive prosecutors, expert witnesses, and an unforgiving system that doesn't always treat them fairly. It is common for parents to feel like everyone in the courthouse treats them with contempt.
Unfortunately, this sometimes includes their own attorneys. If you are going to be dragged through a court system, you are going to be called upon to make very good decisions in the midst of an often hostile environment. The best way to do this is to work closely with a CPS defense attorney who understands that environment and has your trust. This means that one of the most important choices you are going to make is the choice of which attorney to hire.
You need an attorney who can walk with you through this process, taking the time to help you make good decisions. Cronkright Law attorneys have been through this many times with many clients. Our proudest accomplishments are tied to the work we did with successful parents. We offer free consultations for parents facing a legal challenge to their parental rights.
Child Abuse and Neglect Court Cases
Anytime you are in court defending your rights, it is serious. Not all cases start out with a request to terminate your rights, but all Michigan Neglect Abuse (NA) cases have the potential of ending in termination. Because of this, you will need to understand your case, and understand the importance of each step you take and each decision you make.
If you are in court, it is important that you realize that time is of the essence. Michigan law does not allow cases to go on for indefinite periods of time. Courts are charged with a requirement to address the problems in the home that brought the case to court in the first place. Many parents have lost their rights after their case dragged on too long without enough improvement in the conditions of the home. You and your attorney will need to carefully form a strategy that is designed to bring your kids home and get the case closed.
Trial in NA Cases
Parents have the right to a trial to determine if the Court will have jurisdiction over the children in the home. A trial can be decided by a judge or a jury. Jurisdiction is a rather complicated legal term that essentially means the Court has control over the children and can decide what needs to happen in order to reunify the family. A Court with jurisdiction can later decide to terminate parental rights. It is possible to enter a plea instead of going to trial. A plea gives jurisdiction to the Court without a trial. The decision to enter a plea or take the case to trial is a very important one. This is something you will need to decide after extensive consultations with your attorney.
If a court has jurisdiction over your children in an NA case, the judge will order you to cooperate with the foster care worker with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS.) That cooperation is sometimes difficult because the relationship with DHHS was not exactly amicable before the Court ended up with jurisdiction.
The state may require you to:
- Engage in services
- Take parenting classes
- Get a psychological evaluation
- Participate in counseling
- Submit to supervised parenting time
Managing these services well is an important part of the reunification plan once the Court has jurisdiction. If you are not able to meet these requirements, CPS can ask the Court to change the goal from reunification to termination of parental rights and adoption. You can avoid many of the pitfalls of this process by working closely with your attorney.
Unfortunately, many attorneys take a hands-off approach once the Court has jurisdiction. This can be very damaging to a successful reunification. Our attorneys are trained to guide clients through the reunification process so that they can maximize the chances of success.
No matter what phase your court case is in, you can benefit from the assistance of a competent attorney. If for any reason, you are not happy with the relationship with your current attorney, you should either work out your differences or change attorneys.
Even when everyone seems to be against you, Cronkright Law is on your side. Contact us for a free consultation today!
Why Choose Cronkright Law as Your Lansing CPS Attorney?
Choosing a law firm to represent you is a big decision, and you are often under significant stress at the time you need one. Understanding what you gain from working with Cronkright Law can help make the decision simple.
When working with Cronkright Law you can expect:
- A commitment to help you keep your family together
- Knowledge and skill to navigate complex medical issues
- Comfort working with—and against—expert witnesses
- A clear focus on the main concerns and the goal of keeping your family together
- Seasoned counsel with criminal defense and litigation experience
When you are in court fighting for your family, you can feel incredibly alone. With Cronkright Law in your corner, you can trust that your rights will be protected, your interests will be asserted, and your voice will be heard.
You do not have to face our court system alone. Call Cronkright Law at (517) 325-0441 to start exploring your options.