Once a CPS suit has been filed, who represents my children?

Dallas CPS Lawyers | Carrollton, TX

ANSWER:

Once a suit has been filed, the court will appoint your children an attorney ad litem whose job is to provide legal services and to represent the child’s interests.

Per Texas Family Code sections 107.003 and 107.004, the attorney ad litem must:

interview and advise your children in a developmentally appropriate manner;
interview each person who has significant knowledge of the your children’s history and condition, including any foster parent of the child;
interview the parties to the suit;
seek to elicit, in a developmentally appropriate manner, your children’s expressed objectives of representation and follow those objectives during the course of litigation – so long as the attorney ad litem determines that your children are competent to understand the nature of an attorney-client relationship and that they have formed that relationship with the attorney ad litem;
consider the impact on the children in formulating the attorney’s presentation of their expressed objectives of representation to the court;
investigate the facts of the case to the extent the attorney considers appropriate;
obtain and review copies of relevant records relating to your children;
participate in the conduct of the litigation to the same extent as an attorney for a party;
take any action consistent with your children’s interests that the attorney considers necessary to expedite the proceedings;
encourage settlement and the use of alternative forms of dispute resolution; and
review and sign, or decline to sign, a proposed or agreed order affecting your children.

A Court might also appoint a guardian ad litem, who is responsible for representing the best interests of your children. The guardian may be a CASA volunteer or even another attorney.  However, some courts may ask the attorney ad litem to also serve as guardian.  This is called a dual appointment. Attorneys who are dually appointed will inform the court of your child’s interests but are free to advocate what they believe it is in the best interest of your children.

Additionally, Texas Lawyers for Children and Texas Foster Youth offer legal assistance and information to children who are in foster care.

 

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