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FamilyAttorney, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1420
Experience:  Owner, attorney in private practice, appellate attorney, GAL & former trial lawyer, licensed for 37 years
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One of my best friends had her 4 months old baby girl taken

Customer Question

One of my best friends had her 4 months old baby girl taken by CPS. She is (was) in an emotionally abusive relationship and suffers from depression because of it. Last weekend her relationship situation blew up, and she was so on the lowdown that she turned to alcohol and got drunk ( she usually doesn't drink). After breaking a door and intimidating her, her domestic partner left, threatening to have her child taken away from her. Additionally he called her family telling them she was about to overdose on pills. Her grandma and her sister immediately got on the way to her house, and also called 911 because they were worried about her already being helpless from the alleged overdosing. They arrived before 911 and even so she was without a doubt drunk, she was able to open the door for them. The county sherrif arrived minutes later. They counted the only pills available at her house (Prozac) and found out that she didn't take any pills. Because she is not used to extreme alcohol consul she got sick fairly quickly and sat on the floor with a bucket, vomiting the alcohol out of her system. However, the police report to CPS states they found her "passed out" on the floor. CPS showed up at her door on Monday and took her 4 month old daughter, luckily placing her with her great-grandmother for now and charged my friend with child neglect. Her court appointment is next Monday, and during initial counseling she was told that the best case scenario would be that she will get her child back in about 6 months.
My friend is a wonderful person and a very caring mom. She acknowledges that it was a mistake to start drinking. She just had reached a very low point and had a moment of weakness. Luckily the baby slept through the events and wasn't harmed. Unfortunately she had listened to her domestic partner and quit her job after the baby was born. She is now basically without means to afford to pay a good family lawyer. Is there any way she could get help in getting her child back quickly? I already wrote a "character witness" letter to CPS on her behalf, in hopes it might have some impact. My question is, are there any resources available for people with limited financial means to help them get justice? My friend is a very smart goal-oriented person. She graduated with honors from college last year as the first one ever in her family, and holds a bachelors of arts in psychology. She was determined to continue her education by taking online classes from home after the child's birth, but this dream was always squashed by her domestic partner. She started working as soon as she turned 16 and held at least 2 jobs all through college. Will her "squeekie clean" past be taken into consideration at court?
Submitted: 12 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 12 months ago.

Hello. I’m a licensed NY attorney with 36 years’ experience. I specialize in family law cases and appeals. I look forward to helping you today

Customer: replied 12 months ago.
Thank you.
Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 12 months ago.

I'm so sorry to hear about your friend. CPS is not anyone's friend in any state, so it is always a scary thing when that happens.

She needs an attorney and I know she has limited resources. Can she discuss this with Legal Aid in your area? They are much less expensive and many Legal Aid attorneys do cases like this. That is one possibility.

Yes, they will take into account her squeaky clean past, but even one episode of neglect will be considered. They will be happy that the domestic partner is gone, so that's a good thing -- I hope that's permanent because if it isn't, they will be less likely to give the child back.

She needs to fight this. At least the child is with family -- that doesn't always happen. The other alternative is to find an attorney who does pro bono work -- for no charge. It's difficult to find someone who does that but checking with the local and state bar associations are usually ways to find out where to get a pro bono family lawyer.

Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 12 months ago.

Unfortunately the court won't care that the baby was asleep. In many states, that's not material. If the baby was nearby, awake or asleep, it doesn't matter because this would be considered neglect in the presence of the child. Case law has interpreted in the presence of the child to include when the child is asleep or in the next room.

Is this for KY? There are Legal Aid Societies in KY:

Also, the bar association may have a lawyer referral service:

She needs to ask for a pro bono lawyer for this because of her lack of funds. Sometimes there will be a pro bono lawyer in her area, but often not. Still, I have provided you with links to Legal Aid (from an Internet search) and to the bar association.

If you let me know what area of the state -- what county and city -- she is in, I can check bar associations there too. Sometimes local bar associations have more resources than the state bar association.

Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 12 months ago.

I'd like to help you with finding a local bar association's legal referral service but I'd need to know what county and what city. She may be able to find enough information from the Legal Aid links and the state bar association link but I'm happy to provide local bar association information for you if you provide the additional information. If this is enough information to start with, let me know and if you want more information, such as a local referral service, please let me know that too.

Does this answer your question or would you like more information?

Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 12 months ago.

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Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 12 months ago.

Hi, just checking in to see if you still need help with your question and if my answer was helpful for you. Thanks and thank you for allowing me to help you.

Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 12 months ago.

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