Friday, December 14, 2012

How to effectively handle your termination of parental rights case


Best interests of the child: The most common legal basis
for terminating parental rights, where DFS must prove a
number of reasons why it is best that your parental rights
be ended.
CAP attorney: The lawyer who represents the child
named in a termination of parental rights complaint.
Chambers: The judge’s office.
Clear and convincing evidence: The highest level of
proof required in a civil case—the civil equivalent of the
“beyond a reasonable doubt” standard in criminal cases.
CPS: Child Protective Services
Cross-examination: An attorney’s questioning of a witness
called to testify by the other side in the case. Crossexamination
questions are asked in order to check or discredit
the testimony, knowledge, or credibility of the witness.
DFS: Department of Family Services.
Defendant: In a termination of parental rights case, the
parent is not called a defendant, but is called a Respondent.
Default: A default can be entered against you if you fail
to appear or respond to court orders or miss your contested
hearing or TPR trial.
Deputy District Attorney: The lawyer for the State of
A child whose parents are living cannot be adopted
unless the parental rights of both the child’s birth mother
and birth father have been terminated. If DFS cannot find
one of the child’s parents (commonly the father), it can still
terminate that parent’s rights if it can prove to the court
that it tried to identify and find the parent, but was unable
to do so.
DFS uses the term foster home adoption to describe
its plan for a child to be adopted by his or her current
In most cases, DFS is required by law to file an action
to terminate parental rights after a child has been in
foster care for 14 months. There are exceptions to this requirement
 Your child is living with a relative and a permanent
plan for the child may be achieved without termination of
parental rights;
 DFS has a good reason why termination of parental
rights is not in the best interests of your child; or
DFS believes that, to be a safe parent, you need certain
help that it has not provided for you.
The Clark County District Attorney has filed
a complaint to terminate your parental
The complaint that has been filed against you for termination
of parental rights is a very important document. It explains
why the State is trying to end your parental rights.
To terminate your parental rights, unless certain presumptions
apply against you, DFS must prove that the things it
says about you in the complaint are true. The court then
decides if those things justify terminating your parental
rights under Nevada law.
The termination of parental rights case filed against
you can only be used to terminate your rights to the child
or children named in the complaint.

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