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What Should I Do if My Ex Calls CPS on Me?

Going through a divorce can be one of the most stressful times in your life. That’s especially true if children are involved. Emotions can run high and disagreements about parenting or discipline can blow up and become major obstacles. Nothing will ratchet up the tension more than one spouse calling Child Protective Services on the other. In this blog post, our attorneys will explain what you should do if your ex calls CPS and answer some frequently asked questions.

What is CPS?

Child Protective Services, which is a division of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, becomes involved with children and families when there are allegations of child abuse and neglect.
In contentious divorce and child custody cases, it’s not uncommon for vengeful spouses to call CPS in hopes of gaining custody or leverage in their family law case.

What powers does CPS have?

CPS will investigate the safety of the child and any other minors in the home to determine if the environment is safe. If CPS views the home unsafe, it has the authority to take the child into protective custody. CPS has 60 days from the day of the accusation to decide whether the home is safe for the child. If it deems the home unsafe, the court will decide what further action is necessary to ensure the safety of the child.

What’s the first thing you should do if your ex calls CPS?

You need to call an attorney. However, which attorney you call depends on whether you already have a pending family matter.

If a family case has not been initiated (divorce, custody, suit affecting parent-child relationship, etc.) then call an attorney who handles CPS cases, such as Lyndsay Newell in Fort Worth. (817) 877-2872
If you have a pending divorce or family case, you can bring us on to the family law case, and we advise you on how to navigate the waters with CPS with a primary focus on your family case. (817) 900-3220.

Do I have to answer CPS questions?

No, you don’t have to answer CPS questions, nor should you without first consulting with an attorney. Anything you say can be used against you in child custody court, divorce court, and in criminal court.
However, it’s important to point out that not answering questions can have significant consequences – including the imposition of a Child Safety Plan that will keep you away from your kids.
If CPS shows up unexpectedly at your door, do not let them into your home without a warrant and do not allow them to interview your children. Politely tell them that you have an attorney who will intervene on your behalf and then immediately contact an attorney.

What if my ex lied to CPS?

If you ex calls CPS to make a false report, he or she could be facing arrest. Falsely accusing someone of child abuse is a criminal offense in Texas. Under Texas Family Code § 261.107, making a false report of child abuse with the intent to deceive is a state jail felony. A state jail felony is punishable by six months to two years in a state jail facility and a maximum $10,000 fine.
The charge is elevated to a third-degree felony if the individual has previously been convicted for making false child abuse reports. If your ex filed a false CPS report, it’s important to follow the advice of your attorney who may recommend contacting police.

What happens if CPS takes my kids?

CPS’s first option is to place your child with a family member. To gain an order granting them conservatorship over your child, CPS will present an affidavit stating your circumstances to a judge. After reviewing the allegations, a judge will decide whether to issue an order that allows CPS to remove your child from your home. The most important thing you can do if CPS removes your children is contact a skilled family lawyer who will work to help keep your family intact.

Contact Us.

If your ex calls CPS, it’s important to act fast. If you do not have a pending family matter, call a CPS attorney like Lyndsay Newell. If you have a pending family matter, you can call us at 817-900-3220.

The team at Varghese Summersett Family Law Group is skilled in all aspects of contentious divorce and child custody disputes.

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