Who has more power over a CPS case: The judge or CPS?

Ultimately, the judge has greater authority to control a CPS lawsuit involving an allegation of abuse or neglect to a child. However, the judge’s authority is limited to only address requests and evidence that are present to the Court, so many decisions get made by CPS without the judge even knowing about it. In theContinue reading “Who has more power over a CPS case: The judge or CPS?”

What is Collaborative Family Law?

Collaborative Family Law is a process by which the decision making process in a divorce is taken away from the Court and put into the hands of a neutral third-party, the collaborative lawyer. This is a relatively new process–The Texas Legislature enacted laws that authorize this practice in 2011. Collaborative Family Law requires many things.Continue reading “What is Collaborative Family Law?”

Can I demand a jury trial on a suit involving a child?

The right to a jury trial is not without limitations. The Texas Family Code provides limited circumstances in which a child custody battle can be decided by a jury. In suits involving children, a jury can determine the issues of: (1) appointing someone as sole managing conservator, joint managing conservator, possessory conservator; (2) determining whichContinue reading “Can I demand a jury trial on a suit involving a child?”

Can a foster parent intervene in a CPS case before twelve months?

Under certain circumstances, a foster parent may intervene in a CPS case before twelve months. The statutory and case law provisions that govern a foster parent’s ability to intervene in ongoing CPS litigation are complicated. There are many misconceptions about this based upon lawyers and non-lawyers alike oversimplifying the statutory provisions.  In some circumstances, theContinue reading “Can a foster parent intervene in a CPS case before twelve months?”

What are the important dates and events in a CPS case?

A CPS case has a twelve-month deadline with several important hearings and conferences along the way. There are adversarial hearings, status review hearings, permanency review hearings, family group conferences, and permanency conferences. Each hearing or conference has specific statutory requirements that must be met by CPS or the court. Ordinarily, the child must be returnedContinue reading “What are the important dates and events in a CPS case?”

Who all is involved in a CPS court hearing?

A CPS court hearing has many unique people involved, including: the Department of Family and Protective Services (“CPS” or “The Department”), their attorney (“District Attorney” or “County Attorney”), the Guardian Ad Litem (“GAL”), the Attorney Ad Litem (“AAL”), the parents and their attorneys, and the foster parents. The Department of Family and Protective Services (“CPS”Continue reading “Who all is involved in a CPS court hearing?”

What is an ICPC Home Study?

An ICPC Home Study gets its name from the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC), which has been adopted by the State of Texas. The ICPC governs how, when, and why a child may be placed across state lines. An ICPC Home Study is an assessment of the home of a prospective placementContinue reading “What is an ICPC Home Study?”

What are standing orders?

A Standing Order typically governs the conduct of parties in a divorce or a Suit Affecting the Parent Child Relationship (SAPCR). Standing Orders are usually orders by county, and many counties in Texas do not have standing Orders. If the county in which the lawsuit is filed has Standing Orders, the become effective on theContinue reading “What are standing orders?”

What are the rights and duties of a conservator?

The Texas Family Code provides a list of twenty-seven rights and duties that a person may have to a child. Of those, most child custody disputes focus on only four of these rights: The right to establish the primary residence of the child; The right to consent to non-emergency medical, dental, psychiatric, psychological and surgicalContinue reading “What are the rights and duties of a conservator?”

What does “managing conservator” or “possessory conservator” mean?

Texas uses the term “conservator” to broadly include anyone with a court-ordered relationship with a child. You may hear the term “joint managing conservator”, “sole managing conservator”, “possessory conservator”, or “non-parent conservator” – or any combination of these terms (e.g., “non-parent sole managing conservator”). A conservator may be a parent, a relative, a family friend,Continue reading “What does “managing conservator” or “possessory conservator” mean?”