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Do I Need to Cooperate with Child Protective Services During Divorce?

On Behalf of | Dec 29, 2022 | Divorce

An unfortunate but common feature of many divorces is accusations of abuse or neglect made by one parent about the other. Sometimes these accusations are legitimate, and sometimes they are made out of hurt, anger, or a desire for vengeance. While parents usually seek what is best for their children, the hostility of divorce can sometimes make it difficult to prioritize a child’s best interests over involvement in adult conflict.

Sometimes these accusations are made exclusively in divorce court. Other times, however, they are made to outside agencies – Child Protective Services (CPS) in particular. Finding out that you are being investigated by CPS in addition to dealing with the stress and difficulties of divorce can feel insulting and outrageous. Because the stakes are so high, it is important to remain calm and learn what to do in these circumstances and to have the help of an Illinois family lawyer who can guide you.

Can a CPS Investigation Change the Outcome of a Divorce?

When someone – even an anonymous tipster – makes an allegation of abuse or neglect about a parent, CPS has a legal obligation to follow up and investigate the allegation. Initial contact from CPS does not necessarily mean there will be a full investigation, but if CPS determines that there is a significant threat of harm to a child, they will launch an investigation quickly.

While it is important to continue working with your lawyer through the divorce process and to comply with court orders and requests, CPS is a separate entity. They are not the police or a judge. They cannot force you to let them in your house or to talk to them (although they may try to approach your child at school).

However, the outcome of a CPS investigation can have an impact on your divorce case. If CPS finds that there is a significant enough threat to a child, they can take this evidence to a judge and get a court order allowing them to remove your child from your home. In extreme cases, a CPS caseworker can remove a child from a home if the situation is an emergency.

This can be very damaging to a parent’s ability to get parental responsibilities or parenting time. This is why it is so important to have the advice and advocacy of a lawyer during your divorce and any CPS investigation; your relationship with your child is worth protecting at all costs.

Contact a Chicago, IL Divorce Lawyer

If you are getting divorced and have had Child Protective Services called on you, you may need to fight against false allegations of abuse or neglect. Get the help you need from an experienced Chicago, IL divorce and family law attorney with NextLevel Law, P.C. by Daniel R. Hernandez, Esq. today by calling 312-442-2225 and scheduling a free consultation.