When To Call Child Protective Services
Child Protective Services (CPS) is a governmental agency in many states of the United States that responds to reports of child abuse or neglect.
They work along with law enforcement, schools, and health care providers to ensure the safety and well-being of children.
In Texas, CPS is a part of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). It is responsible for ensuring that children are safe and their needs are met, including physical, emotional, and mental health needs.
In a child custody case, CPS can become involved if there are allegations of abuse, neglect, or endangerment involving a child. This could be reported by a parent, a teacher, a neighbor, a healthcare professional, or anyone else.
Once CPS receives a report, they may conduct an investigation which could involve visiting the child’s home, interviewing the child and other family members, and possibly consulting with healthcare providers, teachers, and others who know the child well.
If CPS determines that a child is in danger, they have the power to take various actions, which can significantly impact a child custody case. Here’s how it might affect your case:
In extreme cases, if the child’s immediate safety is at risk, CPS can remove the child from the home temporarily.
This would certainly impact a custody case as the court would consider the reasons for the removal when determining custody arrangements.
If CPS finds that the child is at risk but removal isn’t necessary, they might create a service plan for the parents.
This could include parenting classes, therapy, substance abuse treatment, or other steps to improve the home environment. Compliance with this plan would likely influence a judge’s decision in a custody case.
Termination of Parental Rights
In severe cases, CPS can seek to terminate parental rights entirely. This is typically a last resort when there is severe abuse or neglect, and the parent has not complied with the service plan.
If parental rights are terminated, that parent would not be eligible for custody.
Influence on Judge’s Decision
Even if CPS does not take any of the above actions, their investigation and findings could still influence a judge’s decision in a child custody case.
The judge would take into account any concerns raised by CPS when determining the best interest of the child.
Remember, CPS’s primary role is to protect children from harm. If you’re involved in a CPS investigation, it’s critical to cooperate and consult with a legal professional who can guide you through the process.
What To Do If Child Protective Services Are Investigating You?
In a situation where one parent does not work, child support is still determined by the courts in accordance with the laws and guidelines of your state.
It can be a complex process, and the approach may vary based on individual circumstances. Here are some general principles:
If a parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed — meaning they could work but choose not to, or they intentionally earn less than they could — the court might “impute income” to that parent.
This means the court would assign an income value based on what that parent could be expected to earn given their education, work history, job market, and other factors.
The assigned income is then used to calculate the child support obligation.
Minimum Child Support
Some states have a minimum child support amount that must be paid even if a parent is not working, to ensure that both parents contribute to the child’s upbringing.
Consideration of Benefits
If the non-working parent is receiving benefits such as unemployment, disability, or social security, these may be considered income for the purpose of calculating child support.
Change in Circumstances
If a parent becomes unemployed involuntarily, such as due to a job loss or disability, they can usually apply to the court to modify the child support order. A significant change in financial circumstances is often grounds for modifying child support, but it’s not automatic — the parent must request it.
Needs of the Child
Ultimately, the court’s primary concern is the wellbeing and best interests of the child. The child has a legal right to support from both parents.
If one parent doesn’t work, it doesn’t absolve them from the responsibility to contribute to their child’s needs in some way.