Today was a great day. I represent a mother who was involved with CPS. The case was so weak. The mother worked all of her services and the child had been returned home two months ago. CPS wanted to keep the case open. We filed a motion to dismiss and CPS dismissed the case.
CPS can make your life miserable....We can help make that the shortest amount of time.
July 2016 - Pressure from the other side:
I represent a mother who is being sued by the father for a change in the custody orders. I get the impression that the father is attempting to "out-spend" this mother to try to force what he wants upon her.
Don't let anyone force you into something you don't want. We can help make sure that you are protected....making sure the other side knows that you can not be pushed around.
July 2016 - Temporary Restraining Orders:
There are times when a person will be served with a lawsuit that includes a Temporary Restraining Order "TRO". Generally, a TRO is an order that is signed by the court at the request of the filing party. The filing party is telling the court that there is a situation that requires the court's immediate attention and that there is no time for the court to have a hearing prior to issuing the order. When this paperwork is served it will contain a hearing date. This hearing is where the court will determine whether the TRO should be made a temporary injunction and whether other temporary orders should be granted.
If you are served with a TRO contact an attorney right away. These orders can be confusing. The other party may tell you that you have been restricted by the court from doing certain thing and in reality that is not what the order says. At the hearing it is the burden of the filing party to prove the allegations contained in the affidavit.
***These Orders only last 14 days unless they get a new TRO and even then the longest period of time is 28 days from the date the order is signed.
August 2016 - CPS Troubles:
There are times when interactions with CPS can blow up. There are times when a neighbor, family member, educator or social worker will make a call to CPS to report that there might be a problem with you and your children. There are too many scenarios to describe. Most times a CPS investigator will come out to ask questions. Some investogators are very forceful and demanding - they may make a statement like: "if you dont do.....I will take your child". 90% of the time this statement is completely false. CPS must be able to show an immediate and ongoing danger to your child if the child is allowed to remain in your home. Here are some suggestions: 1. be polite but firm, 2. step outside to talk to them and don't let them in your home, 3. if your child is healthy and well, bring the child outside to allow the investigor to observe and talk to your child (if you don't like the questions send the child inside), 4. Do not make any statements that will incriminate yourself; if you get asked these types of questions - simply say that you can not talk about that subject - be firm but don't argue, 5. DO NOT volunteer to take a drug test - NO MATTER WHAT, 6. DO NOT sign any agreement with CPS without having it reviewed by a lawyer, 7. Do not agree to have your child go and stay with someone else, 8. let them know that you want to be notified if an emergency hearing is scheduled, 9. after the interview, DO NOT try to contact anyone you think may have made the phone call, 10. call me or another lawyer to get some initial advice.
DO NOT go to court without a lawyer.
September 2016 - Family Conduct at hearings:
Recently I wrapped up a jury trial and afterwards I was able to speak to some of the jurors. I represented an out-of-state client who was trying to get custody of his child. He had five family memebers that were able to make the trip for the trial. Two of them were withnesses and the other three were in the courtroom for support. At the beginning of trial I counseled the family members and my client as to the proper courtroom decorum. I told them that the jury doesn't know anyone and all behaviors of the family would be as if my client were demonstrating those same behaviors. The jurors stated that the family memebers were making audible outbursts and were exhibiting body movements/motions. It appeared to the jury that the family members were not able to control themselves even after admonished by the judge. As such, the jury believed that my client could not be trusted to obey the court orders nor would he be able to control his lifestyle and remain drug free. Your and your family's behavior matters at every hearing.
September 2016 - Parent v. Grandparent for custody:
I recently fininshed a short trial wherein a grandmother was trying to get custody of her grandchildren. The grandmother was challenging her own daughter for custody. During my career, I have represented both grandparent and parent. Generally in Texas, it is presumed that it is in the best interest of the child to be with one of their parents. Even if a child has been with the grandparent for a good deal of time, the grandparent still must show that it is in the best interest of the child for the grandparent to be appointed as a conservator of the child. Generally, the grandparent must also show that it would be detrimental to the child to live with a parent. The parent must demonstrate that the decisions that they have been making have been the best for the child. The parent must also show that they are able to provide a safe and stable environment for the child. These trials are very fact specific for both the grandparent and parent. Each party must be able overcome the accusations of the other party. Additionlly, there are issues of whether or not the grandparent has standing to request conservatorship. Make sure that the attorney you hire for this type of trial has the necessary experience....there are no second chances.
October 2016 - Parents in Final Trial:
There are a lot of parents that get frustrated with CPS because CPS' goals aren't what the parent wants. There are many cases where CPS' goals do not include reunification with the parents. There are some parents that say: "if they are not going to give my kids back why should I do any of the services". Some parents can't accept that CPS can change their goals at any time during the case (for better or worse). There are many times when the case ends with the parent and CPS reaching a deal that does not include the parents' rights being terminated. The amount of participation by the parent can greatly influence the outcome of the negotiations. Additionally, the amount of participation can affect the type of visitation between parent and child. Also, there is virtually a 99.9% chance that a judge will NOT believe that a drug test is wrong. If a parent attempts to tell the court that they "don't know why the the test was positive for cocaine, because I don't do drugs"...the parent's credibility will be severely damaged. It will appear to the court that the parent can't be honest and take responsibility for their actions. Sometimes parents have to decide whether or not they want a relationship with their child right now or forever....the forever decision is the hardest for parents to understand. Parents also have a difficult time understanding that sometimes you have to give a lot to get, what appears to be, a little. Keeping your parental rights should be your ultimate goal.
I can help you achieve your goals!!
January 2017 - Parent-Child relationship and New adults relationships:
Parents often deal with difficult situations when one parent refuses to allow the child to see the other parent. Often the parent will chose not to visit the child to avoid the conflict. Also, the parent might reason that they don't want the child to be part of any conflict/ don't want to get the police involved. First I must emphasized that parents have the absolute right to see their children in accordance with their court orders. Any parent that disobeys a court order is subject to penalties from the court including jail and attorney's fees (ordered to pay your lawyer's fees). Additionally, the longer a parent choses to not see their child - it can give the other parent an excuse such as parent is abandoning the child.
A parent must be careful as to the person with whom they chose to have a relationship. The other parent can use your poor choices against you. Chose wisely.
The Tipsword Law Firm, P.C.
2616 South Loop West
Houston, TX 77054
P.O. Box 310037
Houston, TX 77231