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When Child Protective Services Wrongfully Takes Your Child

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Frivolous Tax Arguments Completes the IRS “Dirty Dozen” List of Tax Scams for the 2015 Filing Season

IR-2015-23, Feb. 6, 2015 WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today wrapped up its 2015 “Dirty Dozen” tax scams list by warning taxpayers against using frivolous tax arguments to avoid paying their taxes. The IRS today also released the 2015 version of “The Truth about Frivolous Tax Arguments.” The 69-page document describes and responds to […]

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Overview of the Divorce & Family Law Process in California

Generally, California has made the divorce process straight forward.  The problem becomes most of the areas have subtle and sometimes complex rules and legal analysis.  It is always my strong recommendation that you consult with an attorney.  A few years ago, California enacted laws that now permits an attorney to represent you, and charge you, […]

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The #1 Thing To Do If Law Enforcement Is Investigating

DON’T TALK TO THE POLICE! For many years, I have advised people, “Don’t talk to the police.”  Oddly enough, very few people take that advice.  Many times people think that their “cooperating” will prevent them from being charged with a crime.  Some people even think that they will be able to explain away their actions […]

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Family Reunification Services: Early and Often

Having represented people in juvenile dependency cases against Child Protective Services (“CPS”, or the Department of Children and Family Services, DCFS, as they are known in Los Angeles County) for almost 30 years, I’ve come to realize something very important which all parents and families should know:  And that is no matter what allegations or […]

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ONE WAY TO POSSIBLY HELP SAVE YOUR PARENTAL RIGHTS

ONE WAY TO POSSIBLY HELP SAVE YOUR PARENTAL RIGHTS The other day, I had the opportunity to be involved in a hearing where the Department of Children and Family Services was attempting to terminate my client’s parental rights pursuant to a Welfare and Institutions Code Section 366.26 hearing. The minors’ attorneys was adamantly against my […]

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3 Things You Must Know If You Are Served With Legal Papers Regarding A Family Law Case

3 THINGS YOU MUST KNOW IF YOU ARE SERVED WITH LEGAL PAPERS REGARDING A FAMILY LAW CASE OR CONTEMPLATING YOUR OWN FAMILY LAW CASE Family Law is a generic term used to describe cases that are handled by the Family Law Department of the California Superior Court.  They include divorces, paternity cases, most domestic violence […]

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5 Things You Should Know About The Tax Payers Bill Of Rights (Part 1 of 3)

  5 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE TAX PAYERS BILL OF RIGHTS Part One (3 Part Series) It is a surprise to most people that citizens have a Bill of Rights when dealing with the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”).  1. You have the right to an explanation of the audit process, an explanation of […]

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It Pays To Know What The Law Says

Today, I appeared for the first time for a mother on a juvenile dependency case. It was actually the client’s second time appearing in court. But she hired me because she was not satisfied with the court appointed attorney and the outcome of the first court appearance. In these types of cases the social worker, […]

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10 THINGS A PERSON APPLYING FOR DEFACTO PARENT STATUS SHOULD KNOW

This topic is especially important for relative caretakers and foster parents who want to make sure that the children remain in their care and custody, or continue to have ongoing visitation if the children are returned to the parents’ care and custody. 1. Only parents, children, social workers and de facto parents are considered parties to […]

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WRONGFUL DEATH OR MAJOR INJURIES REQUIRE FAIR COMPENSATION

A few days ago, I was contacted by a potential client regarding the death of a family member.  The death was caused by the apparent acts and omissions of  an employee of a well-known business where a lot of us shop.  It seems that, while in a store, the family member was walking down the […]

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Relative Caretakers and Non Relative Caretakers

Relative Caretakers and Non Relative Caretakers (Foster Parents) Are Entitled to Substantial Legal Rights In Juvenile Dependency Court I was recently contacted by a Foster Parent, a non-relative caretaker, of a child for about 18 months.  (The same analysis would apply if it was a relative caretaker.) She was concerned that the right thing wasn’t being […]

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The Most Important Thing You Must Know At the Beginning of Your Juvenile Dependency Case

I’ve been noticing a shift in the willingness of social workers, and sometimes judges to place foster children with family. It seems that all the political lobbying foster parents are doing in Sacramento and amongst the County social workers is paying off. It is imperative that you know the following: YOU MUST FIGHT TO PLACE YOUR […]

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Foster Parents Rights

Foster Parents may have certain rights in the relationship, custody and visitation of a foster child. They may not have the same rights that a parent has, or a relative. But they do indeed have rights. Many times I’m confronted with foster parents who have been told by a county social worker that they do […]

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The Selection & Implementation Hearing (.26)

If you haven’t regained custody of your children by the conclusion of the .21F hearing (Chapter 12), the court will schedule a hearing pursuant to WIC section 366.26. This hearing is supposed to select the best permanent plan for your children. The first plan the social worker is likely to recommend is adoption by another […]

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The Twelve Month Review Hearing (.21F, PPH)

Assuming the children were not returned at the .21e hearing – this is the 12 month hearing. During this period, you are still assigned a social worker, (FR Worker). It is supposed to be his/her job to reunify the parents with the children. During this period “Concurrent Planning” continues, and seems to take on a […]

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The Sixth Month Review (364, .21E, JR)

Assume you won your case at the dispositional hearing, the case will most likely be continued for a 6 month review pursuant to WIC 364. During this period of time, a new social worker is assigned to your case; a family maintenance worker. As the name sounds, this social worker’s job will be to visit […]

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The 388 Petition & Hearing

I mentioned this hearing here, because I’d like you to be thinking about this tool all during the juvenile court process. Theoretically, it cannot be used until after the dispositional hearing; therefore, I mention it now. This is a petition that ANY PERSON can file asking the judge to change a prior court order, and […]

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The Dispositional Hearing (Dispo, Trial #2)

If the parents lose the adjudication phase, or if they plead at the adjudication phase, the next hearing is the Dispositional Hearing. This is probably the most important hearing in the entire juvenile dependency process. And, we must remember, if you lose the adjudication trial, this does NOT mean you will lose the dispositional hearing. […]

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The Contested Jurisdictional Hearing (ADJ, Trial #1)

Assuming that you were not in agreement with some or all of the recommendations of the DI in the Jurisdictional/Dispositional report filed by the social worker; you are entitled to a trial. I refer to this trial as the Adjudication Hearing, or trial number 1 (ADJ, Trial#1). The first thing you should do is schedule […]

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The Jurisdictional Hearing (JDX, ROR)

After the Arraignment & Detention Hearing, the case is assigned to a social worker called a Dependency Investigator (DI). It is this workers job to independently, and objectively, investigate the allegations of the Emergency Response (ER) social worker, the allegations in the WIC 300 petition, including reviewing documents and interviewing witnesses. It is my humble […]

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The Pre-Release Investigation (PRI)

On occasion, the judge may set an interim hearing, if requested, for the home of a relative or parent to be investigated, so that the children can be placed there, and not in foster care. I find that these types of hearings are being used less and less; and being asked for less and less […]

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Placement With Relatives & Family Friends

Many times, children are placed in foster homes when they are taken from parents. In my opinion, placement with friendly relatives is always better than placement in a foster home. The reasons for this opinion are almost infinite, but include:  better visitation schedule (frequency & duration) for the parents; children are in a more familiar […]

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First Court Hearing: The Arraignment & Detention Hearing (A&D)

After your children are taken by the social worker, the law requires that you be given the opportunity to go to court and challenge the social worker. This can be a long process. The social worker has to notify you, within 48 hours of you losing your children, that you have a court date. Some […]

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The Social Worker’s Initial Investigation

Juvenile Dependency cases usually begin in two ways. First, the social worker, generally an Emergency Response (ER) worker, becomes aware of the suspected child abuse, which was reported by a third person.  California, like most states, has a long list of “mandated reporters” of suspected child abuse. Teachers, doctors, therapists, day care providers, or any […]

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The Juvenile Dependency Court System

The Juvenile Dependency Court System is administrated by two different entities. The Superior Court of California, Juvenile Dependency Departments – which is part of every County Superior Court system in California.  This system is part of the judicial branch of the local government. The County social works have different names from County to County. In […]

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