Our lawyers represent clients in all manners of family law cases, in hearings as well as trials, and also on appeal. These areas include, but are not limited to, disputes concerning divorce (dissolution), legal separation, nullity, child custody, child visitation, child support, spousal support (alimony), division of property, “move-away” cases, grandparents’ rights, jurisdictional issues, prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements, etc. We know how difficult these proceedings are for our Family law clients, and also how important these issues are, so we are extremely sensitive to our clients’ feelings while also absolutely committed to zealously fight for our clients’ rights and the rights of their children.Cases Involving Child Protective Services (“CPS”)
We represent clients in all types of disputes with Child Protective Services (“CPS,” or, as the Agency is known in San Diego County, Child Welfare Services).
For Parents: Our services can begin from the time an individual is under investigation for abuse by Child Welfare Services, and we have been very successful in obtaining for our clients findings that no abuse can be substantiated. We also represent clients who come to us later and find themselves needing to address a Child Welfare Services “safety plan,” participating in “voluntary” services, facing a Child Abuse Central Index (CACI) Grievance Hearing, or involved with the Juvenile Court and participating in reunification services while facing the potential termination of parental rights. These issues are extremely significant, so we treat them as some of the most important acts we undertake and fight exceptionally hard to accomplish our parent-client’s goals.
For Relatives: We often represent relatives in CPS cases (and other cases) to ensure that children remain with family members rather than go to foster care. We consider the relative placement issue to be crucial as it is a way to ensure that children remain with family no matter whether the parent succeeds or fails in having the child(ren) return to that parent’s care. Unfortunately, CPS (Child Protective Services / Child Welfare Services) frequently fail to recognize the importance of maintaining a child with family, so our attorneys get involved to ensure that this legislative mandate is not ignored.
For Foster Parents: When foster parents have helped to raise a child for a substantial period of time, they develop a legitimate interest in the best interests of the child or children in their care. This interest can be legally protected in many situations, and a foster parent can therefore play a very important role in the long-term future for a child. Our attorneys advocate for these caregivers in order to give them a strong and powerful voice in these cases and fight for their rights and the rights of the children in their care.Guardianships
Our attorneys are constantly in guardianship proceedings wherein we passionately fight for our clients’ rights and the best interests of the children involved in the case. For the petitioners (relatives or other caregivers), we work to make the Court understand the need for the guardianship and how it benefits the child(ren). For parents, we have been extremely effective in having judges deny proposed guardianships by showing that one or both parents can effectively care for the child(ren) and that it is in the best interest of the minor(s) that no guardianship be ordered.Adoptions
Here again, our lawyers are extremely well-versed and successful in advocating on both sides of the adoption issue in cases involving independent and stepparent adoptions. For caregivers seeking to adopt, we present to the Court all the evidence which supports the adoption request in order to submit our clients’ best case for approving the adoption. For biological parents facing the potential termination of their parental rights, we do everything reasonably possible to maintain those parental rights and stop the adoption. We have been successful often in both of these roles, and will fight to secure victories for all of our clients.Grandparent Rights / Relative Rights
In cases ranging from juvenile dependency law (cases against CPS), guardianships, family court hearings, and adoptions, grandparents and relative have rights to petition the court for custody or visitation of a child. However, grandparents and relatives must act on these rights, and our attorneys will be there to make the process as smooth and successful as possible. We specialize in all manners of custody proceedings, and can advise our clients on the best possible ways in which to achieve their goals.Foster Parent Rights
Like relatives, foster parents can acquire certain rights to fight for custody and visitation of a child in their care, and like relatives such foster parents must fight to exercise those rights. Our attorneys ensure that a foster parent will protect his or her interest in the wellbeing of a child to the fullest extent of the law.Child Abuse Central Index (“CACI”) Grievance Hearings
CPS/CWS can find that an individual has committed child abuse without proving the case in any court of law and after incomplete and incompetent investigations. At that point, CWS/CPS can then seek to have the names of these individuals placed on a list called the Child Abuse Central Index (CACI) which will come up on any subsequent background check and affect future employment, ability to volunteer in schools and other child-related organizations, custody proceedings, etc. We get involved immediately to litigate this listing and ensure that those people whose names have been improperly placed on the CACI be removed from that list forthwith.Administrative Hearings
In situations in which a foster parent loses a foster care license, or a daycare provider loses their license to provide daycare, our attorneys vigorously litigate these cases in order to gain these licenses back for these individuals whose passion, and income, is dependent on such work. In taking on the state, we do everything possible to gain back these licenses so that our clients can continue to provide the good care they have previously provided.Special Immigrant Juvenile Status Applications
Our attorneys are some of the few who know about and utilize a provision in immigration law which allows a child who has been abused, neglected or abandoned by a parent and who cannot return to his or her country of origin to petition for legal residency in this country as well as legal permission to work here. We have successfully petitioned for such status, and know the steps to follow in order to maximize the chances of success in these difficult but incredibly significant matters.Limited Conservatorships / Special Needs Trusts
Our lawyers help parents of special needs children to ensure that their children will always be taken care of. In the case of limited conservatorships, we help to create plans to care for adult children who are unable to care for themselves, and with special needs trusts our attorneys allow families to prepare for the day when parents can no longer physically care for the children but wish to ensure that the children are financially cared for during the entirety of their lives.And More…
We perform a number of other legal services involving issues relating to children so you should feel free to contact us with questions regarding the practices listed here as well as any others. However, our potential clients should know that we will never take on a case in an area in which we are not completely confident in our abilities, and we will strive to find you a knowledgeable and trustworthy attorney who can assist in situations when we can’t. We want to help you, and we will try to do so even if there is no financial incentive for us and the best we can do is to refer you to another attorney we know can do more.
Come meet us and put us to the test. We’ll always provide a free initial consultation in order for you to get to know us before entrusting us with your case, and we look forward to proving to our clients every day that we mean it when we say that we treat our clients like family and that their children’s best interest truly is our business…