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.
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!
Responding to a DODD removal in a NJ DYFS court case
In New Jersey, when DYFS / DCPP takes your kids, you have a court appearance within a few days. Thus, DYFS has the ability to take your children without prior court approval. This is called a DODD removal. If you resist, they will call the police to help them. In fact, they may call the police ahead of time just to make sure there are no issues. After your children are removed from your house, they may be placed in foster care. While you are waiting for your court date, you may have no ability to contact your children.
The first court appearance is called a DODD hearing. At this hearing, you will be presented with the DYFS complaint against you which will include all of the allegations. Generally, this is not a time for a trial. That comes much later. Instead, the Court will focus its attention on whether or not the removal was proper or whether the children should be returned to you. Unfortunately, many people just show up to court without an attorney. This is one of the most important court dates and handling it without an attorney can lead to disaster. Our team of tough, smart DYFS / DCPP lawyers have a long track record of helping people get their children back at DODD hearings. Call us anytime for help with your DODD hearing.