If You’ve Been Adjudicated and It Goes Longer Than 3 Months, the State Can Seek to Terminate Your Rights
Video Transcribed: The state has filed a petition to terminate your parental rights. What do you do? Hello, my name is Ryan Cannonie, I’m an CPS Defense Lawyer with the CPS Investigation Defense Law office. And I’d like to talk to you a little bit about what happens in a termination of parental rights.
First off, you’re going to be served with a termination petition, and it’ll be very similar to how the case started with the adjudication petition. The only difference is, now it’s laying out everything that’s happened in the case and why the state thinks that it has the ability to terminate your parental rights.
By law, if you’ve been adjudicated and it goes longer than three months, then the state can seek to terminate your rights if you haven’t substantially completed your ISP, which we’ve talked about before, the individualized service plan. If you’re still trying to do that, still trying to correct the conditions, then the state can try to terminate your parental rights.
So, what do you do? Well, the first thing you do, if you don’t have one already, is you get an attorney. Attorneys like us that know deprive law would be my suggestion. And then you start looking through the petition.
Most termination petitions have a flaw somewhere in them, and that’ll buy you a little more time to try to correct the conditions and get your kids back. Your second big thing that you’re going to have to do, besides getting an attorney, is to decide if you want a jury trial or a non-jury trial.
And I’ve heard people talk in court. I was a prosecutor for seven years, and they didn’t understand why they would ever pick a non-jury trial. A non-jury trial is just like it sounds. There’s not a jury.
You and the prosecution and parents and everyone involved puts forward their arguments and evidence before the judge, most of the time, the same judge that has had the case the whole time, and then lets that judge decide if parental rights should be terminated.
So why would you ever let the judge who’s heard everything all the way along be the person that makes that decision? Well, there are a lot of times where the judge in your case is not going to be happy with things that have happened in the case.
There could be very difficult legal decisions and topics that come up, there could be factual issues that come up that you’d rather have a judge hear that and not a jury. Sometimes it sounds weird that you would do that, but that’s actually come up quite a few times.
So, if you don’t know how to make those decisions, if you haven’t been through the court process before, if this is all new to you, the strategy of jury or non-jury, strategy of looking through a petition to see if everything is correct in it is something you’re not familiar with, then you should definitely reach out and find an attorney and firm that can help you. Please give a Oklahoma DHS attorney a call and we can help you with your legal matters.