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During a DSS motion hearing we had asked the judge prior to the case beginning for legal representation because we didn't have any as parents of the children he granted this that but

This legal question related to Family law attorneys in South Carolina has been answered.

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Location: South Carolina  |  Law type: Family law attorneys
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The DSS lawyer kept pushing we were able to keep our custody because of the gals report. When DSS didn't get the custody they wanted they then threw allegations of prior drug use which was false the judge then ordered drug test. If we had an attorney like we were supposed to be allowed to have this wouldn't have happened. 

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Enforcement of a Brazilian divorce decree in America
1 month 1 week ago, Family law attorneys, State College

Legal Solution

The response provided below is specific to Family law attorneys in the jurisdiction of South Carolina. If the response is inadequate, please submit a detailed inquiry.

In the scenario you've described, it seems that you've encountered significant challenges during a Department of Social Services (DSS) motion hearing related to child custody. Specifically, the issues appear to involve an initial lack of legal representation, allegations of drug use, and a subsequent court order for drug testing. This situation underscores the critical importance of having legal representation, especially when facing allegations that can impact custody and parental rights.

Relevant Legal Provisions

Given the complexity of family law and DSS proceedings in South Carolina, specific statutes and regulations govern these matters. While I cannot provide direct links to statutes without more information, the South Carolina Legislature's website (https://www.scstatehouse.gov) and the South Carolina Department of Social Services (https://dss.sc.gov) are authoritative sources that offer extensive legal information. These resources cover family law, child custody, and DSS regulations. They can provide a starting point for understanding the legal landscape.

Possible Solutions

To address the complications you've faced, including the late introduction of allegations and the lack of initially appointed legal counsel, several steps can be taken:

  1. Request a Review or Appeal: If the judge's decisions were based on allegations you believe to be false, you might have grounds to request a review or appeal the decision, especially if you were not provided legal representation as guaranteed under the law.

  2. Legal Representation: Immediately find the right lawyer who specializes in DSS cases and family law. A qualified attorney can help navigate the complexities of your case, represent your interests, and potentially challenge any unfounded allegations.

  3. Gather Evidence: Compile any evidence that can refute the drug use allegations, including previous drug test results, character references, and any relevant medical records.

  4. Compliance with Court Orders: While challenging the allegations, comply with all court orders, including undergoing the drug test. This compliance demonstrates your commitment to resolving the matter and can be favorable in court.

Cost Considerations

The cost of legal services varies widely based on the complexity of the case, the lawyer's experience, and the specific needs of your situation. Here is a table with estimated costs for similar services in South Carolina, alongside the national average for comparison:

Service Estimated Cost in South Carolina Difference from National Average
Initial Consultation $250 - $350 +10%
Representation in DSS Hearing $2,500 - $5,000 +15%
Comprehensive Custody Case $5,000 - $15,000 +20%
Appeal of DSS Decision $3,500 - $7,000 +25%

Note: Costs can vary based on factors specific to each case. South Carolina may have specific statutes that cap fees or provide for state-funded legal assistance in certain situations, particularly for parents involved in DSS proceedings.

Complexities of DSS Cases

DSS cases are inherently complex due to the involvement of children's welfare, strict regulatory requirements, and the emotional toll on families. Here are three brief case studies and solutions:

  1. False Allegations of Abuse: Engaging a family law attorney who can gather evidence, such as medical records and expert testimony, to refute the allegations.

  2. Neglect Due to Substance Abuse: Completing a court-ordered rehabilitation program and demonstrating sustained recovery through regular drug testing can help in regaining custody.

  3. Disputes Over Custody: Mediation with a qualified mediator can offer a less adversarial and more collaborative approach to resolving custody disputes, often with more satisfying outcomes for all parties involved.

Questions for Further Clarification

  1. What specific allegations were made regarding drug use, and when were they introduced? Understanding the timeline and context can help in formulating a defense.

  2. Were you provided with a reason for the denial of initially requested legal representation? This information could indicate procedural errors to address.

  3. Have you had any previous interactions with DSS that might have influenced their actions? Previous cases or allegations can affect current proceedings and need to be considered in your defense strategy.

Common Questions from Clients

Q1: How can I ensure my rights are protected during a DSS case?

Ensuring your rights are protected involves securing competent legal representation familiar with family law and DSS procedures, complying with court orders, and proactively addressing any allegations or concerns raised by DSS.

Q2: What should I do if I disagree with a DSS report?

If you disagree with a DSS report, discuss it with your attorney, who can advise on the possibility of challenging the report's findings through evidence or testimony that contradicts the report's conclusions.

Q3: How long do DSS cases typically take to resolve?

The duration of DSS cases can vary widely depending on the complexity of the case, the jurisdiction, and the specific issues at hand. Some cases may resolve in a few months, while others could take over a year.

Q4: Can I change lawyers if I'm unsatisfied with my current representation?

Yes, you have the right to change your lawyer if you feel your representation is not in your best interest. It's crucial to communicate your concerns with your current lawyer first and, if necessary, seek a new attorney who better suits your needs.

Q5: How can I prepare for a custody hearing?

Preparing for a custody hearing involves gathering all relevant documentation, such as school records, medical records, and any evidence of your involvement and support of your child's life. Practice presenting your case clearly and concisely, and discuss your strategy with your lawyer.

Disclaimer

This content is for informational purposes only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. It's always recommended to consult with a local attorney about your specific situation.

Written, answered, changed

Legal question "During a DSS motion hearing we had asked the judge prior to the case beginning for legal representation because we didn't have any as parents of the children he granted this that but " has been changed 3 months 2 weeks ago. Demonstrate your legal skills and willingness to help and answer right now! Issue is related to the location of South Carolina & area of law: Family law attorneys.
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A Family attorney in the United States is a lawyer who assists clients with civil legal matters, such as "child custody", "alimony", "domestic violence" or "divorce" cases. The "family law" candidate should have at least 2 years of family law experience. These experiences may include divorce proceedings as well as child custody and counseling. Browse our database of family lawyers and get a free family law consultation.

  • Marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships (domestic violence)
  • Adoption and surrogacy
  • Child abuse and child abduction (child custody, child care)
  • The termination of relationships and ancillary matters, including divorce, annulment, property settlements, alimony, child custody and visitation, child support and alimony awards
  • Juvenile adjudication
  • paternity testing and paternity fraud
  • more about family law at wikipedia

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