One of the most frustrating aspect of my job is dealing with clients that make assumptions about their case. This often comes up when the client receives a letter from DYFS that the allegations were unfounded. They then call me only to ask me if they need a lawyer and then they proceed to tell me that they don’t need a DYFS lawyer because the allegations were unfounded. Or the other scenario is a couple where one wants a lawyer but the other parent doesn’t. Of course, the first question that comes up is why call a lawyer only to convince yourself you don’t need one? Putting that aside, I wrote the DYFS Trap so that people would understand why this thinking can get them in trouble. I didn’t invent this. I see this happen all of the time. I am attempting to share other people’s horror stories so that you can learn from other people’s mistakes. Unfortunately, not everyone does. I get several calls a week from people that just don’t get it.
Compounding this problem is that there are plenty of people that handle DYFS cases without an attorney and they come out fine. So, if they talk to another attorney or they talk to a friend, they will say “see, I don’t need an attorney because of ….”. This is only bolstered when the parent receives an unfounded letter. However, what they don’t understand is that when DYFS says that they “will be providing services to your family” is a huge sign of danger. As I indicated in the DYFS Trap, many people wind up in DYFS court because of their interaction with DYFS after the initial allegation and not because of the initial allegation itself. Thus, just because you don’t think that DYFS will substantiate you for the initial allegation or if DYFS has already given you an unfounded letter does not mean that you can breathe easily. Instead of assuming you are out of the woods, you should assume that you are in for big problems. Its much cheaper to stay out of court than to roll the dice and wind up in court.
If you received an unfounded letter but DYFS still wants you to do services, call our team of tough, smart DYFS Defense Lawyers to discuss your case.