The nature of a DODD hearing is that it is an emergency and thus, there is little time to prepare. However, that doesn’t mean that you should not do your best.
The first thing you should do is find a lawyer. Since you’ll only have a short period of time to find a lawyer and find some money, this can be difficult. Since we do this so often, our lawyers are available 24/7/365 and we can accept payments over the phone. While you are more than welcome to set up an in person appointment, this is sometimes not possible because there is next to no time between the phone consult and the DODD hearing.
The best way to prepare is to understand what to expect. That’s the purpose of this post. There are two basic issues that must be dealt with at the DODD hearing. The first is the placement of the children. Will they return home with you, go to a relative or stay in foster care? The answer to that question depends on the allegations in the case and availability of suitable relatives. Having an attorney that has the knowledge, experience and the relationships to get this done will go a long way. If you plan on having the children go to a relative, having that relative there will be very helpful.
The next issue to deal with will be services. In the DCPP context, services are the things you will need to do to fix your situation. Examples of services include psychological evaluations, substance abuse evaluations, drug treatment, domestic violence counseling, individual therapy, etc. What services you should do, when you should do them or if you should even do them will vary based upon a number of factors. This includes the strategy in the case, the allegations, your lawyer’s style, etc.
What makes DCPP so interesting is that every case is different. There is no one way to handle a given case. An experienced lawyer develops a feel for a DCPP case that cannot be taught. The bottom line is that you need a strategy going into the DODD hearing. You cannot just wing it and see what happens. If the DODD hearing is not handled the right way, success for the rest of the DCPP case may be hampered and/or delayed.
Call us at 1-855-9-JEFLAW to discuss your DODD hearing and how we can help you.
How to get children out of foster care
If DYFS has placed your children in foster care, the fastest way to get them out is to hire a good lawyer as soon as possible. Time is just not on your side with these cases. The first obvious step is to challenge the removal. Of course, you have no time to do this. When DYFS does take your kids, you will only have a few days until the first court appearance. One one hand, this is good that you get an opportunity to fight back so quickly but it also limits your ability to hire a good lawyer. This first court appearance is so crucial (this is called a DODD hearing). If the wrong moves are made, it could delay the children coming home for quite some time.
If your DYFS lawyer has exhausted all possibilities to get the children out of foster care and returned to you, the next thing to focus on is whether or not the children can be returned to a family member or a friend. Sometimes, you have to focus on more than one option at the same time. Your focus must be on getting the children out of foster care right away. It is very difficult to lose your children forever if they are with a family member or a friend you can trust.
Call our team of tough, smart lawyer today to discuss your DYFS matter.
This case really upset all of the lawyers in our office. A DODD removal is serious and should only be used in emergency situations. As a result, some lawyers who are not as aggressive as our lawyers believe that there is nothing you can do at a DODD removal hearing in New Jersey because the judge will always go along with whatever DYFS/DCPP says. This clearly is not the case. We have had many cases where we were able to win the DODD hearing hearing get the children back.
Our attorneys hear all the time, “I didn’t do anything wrong, why do I need an attorney?”. This case makes it clear that you don’t need to do anything to get your children taken away. In this case, the simple fact of having a criminal record was enough to get the children removed. If the parents had handled the DODD hearing wrong, the children may have been placed in foster care for a lengthy period of time. Luckily, that didn’t happen to then but don’t let this happen to you!