Termination of Parental Rights Attorneys In Henderson, Nevada
Severing the child-parent relationship is an extreme action by the Court. Because of this, the Nevada Supreme Court requires a high standard of proof prior to terminating any parental rights. Therefore, before the Court will issue its judicial order to permanently take a child from one or both parents, much proof will be required. If the government, such as Clark County’s Department of Family Services (DFS) wants to terminate parental rights, quick action is required and you will need to retain an experienced and qualified Henderson termination of parental rights attorney.
The Law Office of Lona L Webb, LLC is experienced in representing parents in their dependency proceedings for termination of parental rights in Henderson and Clark County, Nevada. You need to act quickly in order to protect both your child’s and your rights. In these emotional and very difficult cases, we can represent the parent, guardians, or relatives.
The termination of parental rights lawyers at The Law Office of Lona L Webb, LLC in Henderson, Nevada understands that the facts surrounding each family and each case is different. Once DFS claims that parental fault based on a multitude of factors including neglect, abandonment, unfitness, failure of adjustment, or even that a parent poses risks of harm to their children or child, we can demonstrate to the court that there are two sides to every story, and that is in the best interest of the child that our client be able to explain the situation and to produce evidence. To discuss all of the relevant facts of your individual cases, please call us today at (702) 202-0836.
Dependency Proceedings under the State Law of Nevada
Dependency proceedings are heard by the juvenile division of the Clark County, Nevada district court. In an action for terminating parental rights under NRS 128.110, the court can order that a child is no longer entrapped in his or her parent’s control and custody. In NRS Chapter 432B proceedings, parents are often represented by an attorney. Parents may retain a private attorney for representing their interests. Other parties in the case may seek legal representation as well, which can include the non-offending parent as well as other relatives seeking adoption, temporary custody or guardianship of the child.
The juvenile court in Nevada has exclusive jurisdiction over any proceedings that concern a child who is or might be in need of protection. Refer to NRS 432B.410(1); also see NRS 62A.180; NRS 432B.050. According to NRS 432B.330(1)(b), a child needs protection if the child has been subject to neglect or abuse by a person who is responsible for the child’s welfare, among other things. A petition must be filed in juvenile court by an agency providing child welfare services that alleges that a child needs protection. See NRS 432B.510; NRS 432B.490.
When it is alleged in the petition that only one parent has engaged in neglect or abuse of the child, the other parent still has constitutional protections that need to be treated individually. Review NRS 432B.457 (requires each parent to be notified of any plan for the permanent or temporary placement of the child); NRS 432B.510(4)(c) (states that the petition for a hearing must include the names of the parents of the child); NRS 432B.520(1) (requires the parents to receive notice of the hearing on the petition of the child is currently in a nonparent’s custody).
Under due process, each of the parents is entitled to have a court hearing before they are deprived of the custody of her or his child. This means an “evidentiary” hearing where testimony is presented, people have the right to cross examine witnesses, and other evidence such as documents, pictures, videos, etc. may be presented to the Court to help a parties’ case. The court is not allowed to merely impute the conduct of one parent to terminate the other parent’s parental rights. Once the Department of Family Services (DFS) in Clark County initiates an action for terminating your parental rights, seek the services of an experienced and qualified lawyer to help you demonstrate to the court that the solution that you propose is in the best interest of the child. The Law Office of Lona Webb can help you!
A Child Removed from the Home by DFS
Fit parents are presumed to act in the best interest of their child. If a parent cares adequately for their child, then there is usually no reason for the State of Nevada to get involved in the family’s private matters.
It is only after there have been allegations of neglect, severe abuse, or abandonment that the Department of Family Services of Clark County can remove a child from his or her parent’s home. Child Protective Services representatives will in many cases start an investigation and may initiate the removal of a child from the parent’s home. This removal is based on the allegation of parental fault due to the parent posing a risk of harm to their child, failure of adjustment, unfitness, neglect, or abandonment. Some examples might include drug use of a parent or both parents, physical abuse of one parent to the other parent or the children in the household; No food being present in the household and the child is not being fed properly; educational neglect where one or both parents do not make their children go to school; etc.
It is very important to retain a lawyer as soon as possible in the process to ensure that your rights remain protected. Hiring our termination of parental rights attorneys in Henderson, Nevada early on in the process might mean that the Court in Clark County, Nevada will order that your child is returned to you as soon as possible.
Adjudicatory Hearing Regarding Protective Custody
Soon after a child has been placed in protective custody, an adjudicatory hearing will be conducted by the court and, if the person who is responsible for the child denies the allegations made in the petition, an evidentiary hearing of the petition will need to be held. See NRS 432B.530. If it is found by the court that the allegations made in the petition were not established, then the petition can be dismissed and the child’s immediate release can be ordered from protective custody. See NRS 432B.530(5).
If it is found by the juvenile court that the child needs protection, then several dispositions might be made by the court, including placing the child with a non-parent or allowing the child to stay with a parent. See NRS 432B.550; NRS 432B.530(5). If a child is placed outside of the parent’s home, reasonable efforts must be made by the agency to reunify and preserve the child’s family, with the paramount concern being the child’s safety and health. Review NRS 432B.393(1) and (2).
The agency is required to submit a plan regarding the child’s placement, which includes a description of the services that are to be provided to the individual who is responsible for the child’s care and to the child for facilitating reunification or ensuring the child’s permanent placement. See NRS 432B.540(2)(b).
The Neglect and Abuse Petition
Once a child has been removed from the home, the Department of Family Services of Clark County often will file a neglect and abuse petition under NRS Chapter 432B. As part of a neglect and abuse process, the parents often are given a case plan that they need to complete before they are allowed to be reunited with their child.
Under NRS 432B.560(1)(a), the juvenile court also might order the parent, guardian, or child to undergo psychological, psychiatric, medical, or other treatment or care that the court considers as being in the child’s best interests.
Case Plans by DFS under NRS 128.0155
DFS case plans may include requirements for completing a risk assessment on physical abuse, maintaining stable housing and employment, attending parenting classes, and attending medical appointments. The plan also should provide for frequent visitations with the children or child. If the plan is adhered to, the parents should be allowed unsupervised overnight visitation on a frequent basis until reunification is allowed.
If the plan is adhered to, the DFS may recommend that the permanency plan for reunifying the children or child be maintained. A case plan is defined by NRS 128.0155 as either:
written obligations and conditions imposed on the parents by a court with the main objective of reunited the child’s or children’s family, or
a written agreement between the agency and the parents of having custody of the child.
Under due process, it is required that each of the parents is entitled to have a hearing before they are deprived of the custody of her or his child. Whenever a child is placed in the temporary custody of an individual other than a parent, under NRS 432B.550(2)(a), the parent still retains the rights to reasonable visitation, to determine the religious affiliation of the child, and the right to consent to adoption, unless these rights are restricted by the court. If the rights of the parent are being abridged, then the parent can petition the court to have those rights enforced.
The attorneys at The Law Office of Lona L Webb, LLC help parents to exercise their right to visit their children in person while the action is still pending at the Clark County, Nevada courthouse. Our Henderson, Nevada termination of parental rights lawyers also can help parents pursue their legal rights in pursuing progress in their case plan to ask for the reunification efforts to be reinstated and to regain the custody of their children or child. These cases contain important due process protections in order to protect the rights of the children, the parents, and any interested third parties.
Dispositional Hearing for Reviewing a Permanent Placement Plan
Within a period of 12 months after a child has been initially removed from the home, and every year thereafter, a dispositional hearing must be conducted by the juvenile court to review the permanent placement plan of this child and also determine whether or not reasonable efforts have been made by the agency to finalize the permanent placement of the child. See NRS 432B.553(1); NRS 432B.590(1)(a) and (3).
The court might consider whether or not the child should return to his or her parents or whether under NRS chapter 128 termination of parental rights proceedings need to be instituted so the child may be placed for adoption. See NRS 432B.590(3)(b).
This recommendation may be presented for approval to a domestic master. The domestic master either can approve the permanency plan for the reunification of the child and parent or ve to have the parental rights terminated. To proceed with this termination, a petition must be filed for terminating the appellants’ parental rights. The DFS may allege that there is parental fault based on a posed risk of harm to the children or child, failure of adjustment by the parent, unfitness, neglect, or abandonment.
Trial on the Petition for Terminating Parental Rights
The most serious cases proceed to trial. At this trial, a written order is entered by the district court to determine whether or not to grant the petition based on the fact that it is in either the children or child’s best interest to terminate the parental rights. The court must determine whether or not the DFS established by convincing and clear evidence parent fault that was based on a posed risk of harm to the children or child, failure of adjustment by the parent, unfitness, neglect, or abandonment.
Standards in Actions for Terminating Parental Rights
In order for parental rights to be terminated, a petitioner is required to prove by convincing and clear evidence that there is parental fault present and in the best interest of the child or children. See NRS 128.105. An order by a district order to terminate parental rights will be subject to very close scrutiny since terminating parental rights is considered to be an exercise of extreme power tantamount to imposing a civil death penalty. See re Parental Rights 122 Nev. 1418, 1423 (2006).
The factual findings of the district court must be included in any court order that shows that the termination is in the best interest of the child and that parental fault is present. There must be substantial evidence to support these assertions. If a parental termination proceeding is brought against a parent, then the petition is required to establish by convincing and clear evidence that there is parental fault present and that the best interest of the child would be served by the parental rights being terminated. See NRS 128.105.
Parental fault may be established by findings that show that a parent’s conduct constitutes token efforts, risk of injury, failure of adjustment by the parent, unfitness, neglect, or abandonment. See NRS 128.105.
Presumptions in Cases of the Termination of Parental Rights
Along with affirmation findings, there are certain presumptions that may arise in regards to establishing parental fault and that the best interest of the child would be served by terminating parental rights.
According to NRS 432B.590(4), if a child is placed outside of the parent’s home and lived outside of the home for 14 months out of any 20 consecutive months pursuant to the placement, then the child’s best interest must be presumed to be served by the parental rights being terminated.
Related to this, under NRS Chapter 432B, if a child has been placed outside of the parent’s home for 14 out of any 20 consecutive months, then it is presumed that the parents or parent have only demonstrated token effort to care for their child. Those token efforts are a demonstration of parental fault and it gives rise to the presumption that it is in the child’s best interests to terminate parental rights. See NRS 128.109(1)(a) and (2).
The presumption of the failure of adjustment by the parent arises whenever a parent does not comply in a substantial way to the plan’s terms and conditions for reuniting the family within a period of 6 months after the date that the plan commenced or the child was placed, whichever occurred later. See NRS 128.105(2)(d); NRS 128.109(1)(b).
How to Find an Experienced and Qualified Lawyer for Parents Rights Termination Proceedings
Lona Webb is an experienced attorney who has years of experience in these cases and has taken many cases to trial. She will not hesitate to litigate these cases where negotiations do not achieve the best results for the client. The best negotiations frequently happen after it is clear that the client and attorney are prepared to litigate the case issues in court. If you are in need of a Henderson, Clark County, Nevada attorney who handles these issues then give us a call. We can be reached at The Law Office of Lona L Webb, LLC at (702) 202-0836. \