Can I Get Custody When CPS’s Gets Involved?

Question:

I am in the middle of a custody battle with my ex-wife. We divorced nearly 6 years ago. This past April my daughter who is nearly 6 was sexually abused my her older half brother, my ex-wife’s oldest child. CPS got involved in the case and I took my ex-wife back to court for custody of our two children (6 and 10).

During all of this I found out that there was a CPS case last year on my kids being abused at the hands of their mom and grandma. I did not know about this even though CPS is claiming that they spoke to me. I have always been worried about my kids. My lawyer said that the CPS case last year is not proof that the kids are in danger so he is not going to bring it up in court when we go back for the final court hearing in August.

My attorney told me that with my being an Over the Road truck driver that the court will not give custody of the children to me. I am looking for a job off the road, but if I change jobs now it will affect my ability to pay child support and the insurance.  This would put me in contempt when we go back to court. My new wife and I will be having a home study done on ourselves and the kids this July. Do you think the CPS papers should be brought up? I would really like to change lawyers but I have already payed this lawyer $3,500. He seems to think my chances are nil. What do you think?  Am I missing some options?

 

Answer:

I understand why you have concerns regarding Child Protective Services (“CPS”), especially if they reported an interview with you that did not occur.  I would suggest that you contact CPS to determine whether or not you can lodge a complaint regarding this misrepresentation.  Beyond that, I would agree with your current counsel, who advised you that a complaint alone is not sufficient proof of neglect or abuse.

You asked if you were missing some options and I suppose that depends on your concerns.   Would you be agreeable to a no contact order wherein your children would have no contact with their half-brother (presuming he is now removed from the household)?  Do you have concerns beyond the incident of abuse?  If so, are there agreements that can be put into place to specifically address the concerns?

If you are unable to resolve your concerns without a change of residential custody, I do echo your attorney’s concerns about your current work schedule.  I realize that changing your schedule may put your ability to pay your monthly support into jeopardy, but I do not see that you have another option if you are truly intent on being stable and available for being a custodial parent.

 

Jill Best is the Litigation Manager for the Cordell & Cordell, P.C. office in Overland Park, Kansas. She practices exclusively in the area of domestic relations. She is licensed in the state of Missouri, the state of Kansas, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, the U.S. District Court of Kansas and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

Ms. Best is a frequent guest on Dads Divorce Live and has presented at numerous family law seminars for the public and fellow attorneys.

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