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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 99417
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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Estranged father has filed a complaint with DCF about his children

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Estranged father has filed a complaint with DCF about his children living with me. This is the second false report. He doesn't work, doesn't pay child support and apparently has nothing beter to do. DCF showed up wanting me to sign papers so they can investigate me and I refused. They are coming back with the papers again. I nneed an attorney to fight these people and my ex. Do I have to sign the papers or not?

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What did he allege specifically?

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
He alleges that I have a male friend and that I am doing inappropriate things in front of the children. I do have a male friend but nothing inappropriate has been done anywhere! The male friend has been in my house for all of 15 minutes and my parents were there and present all the time. The children were not present.
Now this is a delicate issue. You do not have to sign the papers per se, but if you do not, CPS will likely go to the Judge and get a court order asking permission for investigation, and perhaps even a temporary restraining order of you from your children. So it is a good idea to cooperate, but at the same time proclaim your innocence and explain that this was an allegation out of spite. Let them investigate if you have nothing to hide! Once they drop the investigation due to lack of evidence and satisfy themselves with the fact that this was a bogus allegation, you go after him.You need to threaten litigation, or actually sue. Let me explain.
Lawsuits are made up of causes of action, in other words, to file suit, you need a cause of action (at least one).

You can file multiple causes of action together. All causes of action have different elements you have to satisfy. For example, “negligence” is proven if there is (1) a duty owned to Plaintiff and (2) the Defendant breached that duty.

It takes too long to explain all elements of each cause of action, but from my knowledge, you have a lawsuit for the following causes of action: libel, slander, intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation of character, and harassment.

Some elements of the causes of action different by state due to different evolution of local law, but they are generally nearly identical.

If the hearing is by Judge (“bench trial”), the Judge decides. If the hearing is by Jury (“jury trial”), a majority of the Jury has to decide towards one way. Although a lawsuit is automatically set up to be heard as a bench trial, either party can request a jury trial. Defendants usually prefer a jury trial since it’s harder to convince a few minds, rather than one.

In the end, the Judge or Jury that decides whether or not the elements for each of the causes of action were satisfied, and if so, what damages are needed to rectify the situation. Note that if you win, you may also get your legal fees and attorney fees tagged unto the award.

Know, however, that 85% of such cases are resolved with a stern demand letter from your attorney and perhaps a draft petition included with it. That usually scared them to make a deal to avoid litigation. When you hire an attorney, try to hire them on a contingency basis, i.e. they don't get paid unless you do (usually about 33%, or 40% if reward is from trial). I can help you find an attorney in your area who specializes in these kinds of matters if you'd like.

Best of luck in your matter. I'm here if you need any more clarification or follow up information.

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