Child Protective Services (CPS) is a nationally recognized agency that provides protection and advocacy for neglected or abused children. In theory, CPS is only contacted when there is a serious concern for the safety of a child, but some people use CPS to harass or intimidate others. During a divorce or separation involving child custody, a former romantic partner may involve CPS in your dispute. Being investigated by CPS is difficult, stressful, and often frightening, but how you handle the investigation can impact the court’s final decisions regarding child custody. Knowing what not to do if a former relative calls CPS during a custody dispute could help you avoid sabotaging your chances at gaining primary custody of your child.
When CPS comes knocking on your door, your first impulse might be to turn off the lights, close the curtains, and hide until they go away. In a high-stress situation, ignoring a new problem may initially seem like a reasonable response, but it could turn a manageable problem into a complete disaster. If your former partner or one of his or her family members sends CPS to your house, it is in your best interest to deal with them. Ignoring their attempt to visit you or contact you will only lead to more aggressive actions from your state’s CPS caseworkers.
Refuse to Cooperate
Once you answer the door and acknowledge CPS, the caseworker who has arrived in response to claims made against you will start an investigation. The steps taken to investigate the claim are largely influenced by the details of the case and your family’s history (if any) with CPS. Throughout the investigation, the caseworker you are assigned will request information about you, your family, and the situation that led to the call. Refusing to cooperate by not answering questions, disregarding requests for information, or otherwise negatively affecting the caseworker’s ability to complete the investigation prolongs your case.
Having a stranger show up at your house accusing you of neglecting or abusing your child is frightening and infuriating. A person who is already tired of dealing with a vindictive former partner and his or her family may desire nothing more than to lash out in frustration at CPS workers. Before you give in to the impulse to yell, scream, and insult, take a deep breath. Responding with hostility may be viewed as an indication of guilt or accidentally confirm claims made against you. Behaving politely and professionally will do more for your situation than verbally assaulting a caseworker.
Handle Things Alone
Certain legal situations require the help of an expert, and CPS involvement in your custody case is one of those times. Reaching out to a child custody and visitation attorney immediately after talking to CPS is one of the best things you can do to protect yourself while preserving your parental rights. The attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum understand how sensitive child custody cases involving CPS are, and we are ready to give you the aggressive representation you need. With offices located throughout the Atlanta, Georgia metro area, our team is standing by ready to provide you with an initial consultation today.