My wife is addicted to drugs. I left the home 6 months ago and moved a few hours away without the children because I couldn’t afford a divorce lawyer. CPS now has the children in their custody because of my wife’s drug abuse.
The problem is I am being told nothing by the CPS and they have even added me to the petition because it happened in our home.
What are my rights as a father (who had already filed for divorce and asked for custody in another county when children were removed) as far as CPS goes?
It sounds as though there are two cases going on, one children’s action regarding their safety and the second is the divorce, which usually deals with custody and placement. Both cases need to know what is going on in the other case.
You may need to file a motion quickly to address the situation and consult with a domestic litigation attorney in your area to address all of your options. I can give you some general guidelines about the law and what may be involved. I do not practice in Oregon, so I can only speak in generalities based on my experience.
In general, children can only be removed from their parent’s home if the state finds that they are in need of protective services. That is likely the finding that was made.
The state then has the obligation to try to find a suitable family member to care for the children. You will likely be investigated to see if the children can live with you, however, the distance that you have moved may not make this practical.
Additionally, the state is likely concerned about your actions – you knew about the situation that you left the children in, and you have had very limited contact with them for some time. You and your wife will likely have conditions that you must fulfill first so that the state has some assurance that the children will be safe.
In terms of the divorce, the divorce case may have to defer to the children’s case regarding what it can order for custody and placement arrangements. In general, the court has to order placement with both parents unless it finds that placement is potentially harmful to the children. The particulars of what the court can order will depend on the other case.
All of your options depend on the facts of your case, and the laws in your jurisdiction. You should contact a domestic litigation attorney licensed in your area. I do not practice in Oregon, so I cannot inform you as to the state’s specific laws.
Cordell & Cordell has men’s divorce lawyers located nationwide.
Angela Foy is an Associate Attorney in the Milwaukee, Wisc., office of Cordell & Cordell where her primary practice is exclusively in the area of domestic relations. Ms. Foy is licensed to practice in the state of Wisconsin, the U.S. District Court, and the Eastern District of Wisconsin. Ms. Foy received her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from the University of Notre Dame. She then continued on to receive her Juris Doctor from Marquette University.