Saturday, September 21, 2013

What are my rights in this situation and what can I/ should I do?

Q:  My ex-bf's girlfriend has continuously harassed me over the past 3 yrs by repeatedly calling ACS on me. This past weekend, the allegations were that my son (6 y/o) is exposed to drugs and violence when he visits his father at his paternal grandmother's home. My son hasn't even seen his father or grandmother in over a year. When the ACS workers came to my home I told them and their respective supervisors they were not entering my home without a warrant and I did not want them questioning my child without myself or a lawyer present. Today a worker went to my son's school and questioned him anyway. This has been so stressful and embarrassing and the rights I thought I had (like having an attorney for my child) I am being told by ACS that they don't apply. What should I do? What are my rights?

A:  David's Answer:  Your child does not have a right to a lawyer for a pre-filing ACS investigation. While you have the right to hire an attorney, there is little as a practical matter the attorney can do. If you refuse entrance to your home, ACS routinely goes to Court, gets an order authorizing them to conduct the investigation & speak with the child, and the Court almost always grants the order. With regard to the school, you should write them a letter via certified mail, return receipt stating that from now on, if the emergency does not occur in school, then ACS is not authorized absent a court order to the contrary to speak with your child outside of your presence. For a full assessment, schedule a consultation with a Bronx Family Law attorney, particularly one with experience in ACS matters.  --  David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

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