Ocean County (Permanency): D.Y.F.S. sought a ruling that they were not required to provide reasonable efforts to reunify a family, a ruling that would have enabled them to put the parents on a fast track to termination of parental rights. We contested the hearing on behalf of the client, and the court ruled that reasonable efforts were required. The ruling made family reunification possible.
Hudson County (Order to Investigate): DYFS sought an order to investigate our client. Their request was based on anonymous allegations that the parents abused alcohol. We demanded a plenary hearing. After the hearing the court ruled that D.Y.F.S. did not have sufficient probable cause that there was neglect or abuse, and dismissed the order against that parent.
Somerset County (Fact-Finding Hearing): D.Y.F.S. charged our client with environmental neglect for keeping the family home in an allegedly unsafe condition. Our client did not agree that he/she had neglected the children in any way. At the fact-finding hearing, we were able to prove that there may have been clutter, but there was no unsafe condition in the home. The court dismissed the complaint against our client.
Hunterdon County (Permanency Hearing): D.Y.F.S. had removed our client’s child from the home due to his/her spouse’s drug abuse. D.Y.F.S. alleged that our client failed to protect the child from the mother. D.Y.F.S.’s permanency plan was to terminate parental rights and allow the child to be adopted. During the permanency hearing, we were able to show that termination was not in the child’s best interests, and were able to force a settlement before the end of the trial, and the child was returned home.
Warren County (Fact-Finding Hearing): D.Y.F.S. had removed our clients’ child from their home after the child was accidentally injured through no fault of the clients. We advised the client to contest the fact-finding hearing. As a result, on the eve of the fact-finding hearing, we were able to negotiate a dismissal of the Complaint and a return of the child to our clients.
Hunterdon County (Termination of Parental Rights): D.Y.F.S. planned to terminate our client’s parental rights to her only child based on allegations that she was intellectually and emotionally incapable of parenting the child. In a hotly contested guardianship trial, we were able to show that it was not in the child’s best interests to terminate our client’s parental rights. The court ultimately returned the child to the family.
Somerset County (Order to Show Cause): D.Y.F.S. charged our client with neglect of his/her child based on anonymous allegations of alcohol abuse while the child was in his/her custody. On the return date of the Order to Show Cause, we demanded a full hearing during which we were able to prove that our client was a very attentive father. The court dismissed the complaint, and as a result D.Y.F.S. was out of the family’s life.