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DeKalb Bar Family Section Program Describes DFCS And Juvenile Court Processes

Georgia Lordby Georgia Lord
Georgia Lord Law

At the section’s February 4 breakfast meeting, attorneys Lila Bradley and Lynn Goldman provided a wealth of practical information regarding Department of Family and Children Services investigations and related Juvenile Court proceedings. They noted that a DFCS investigation can pop up unexpectedly during a custody dispute (for instance, in response to a complaint by other party or a member of their family), and cautioned that the manner in which a parent responds to the investigator can have a critical impact on the outcome of their custody case (and the well being of the child involved).

FLS-1268Pictured at right:
Alice Limehouse and Dan Branch

Their suggestions included advice to give clients regarding things they should try to do and things they should avoid doing when responding to DFCS staff. For example, here are several things persons who are the subject of a DFCS investigation should not do:

On the other hand, there are some things that clients can do to foster a favorable outcome from a DFCS investigation:

Ms. Goldman and Ms. Bradley also presented an overview of the DFCS investigation process and the juvenile court proceedings that can follow. They cautioned that juvenile court litigation should be handled by a specialist who is well-versed in the rules and procedures of that court.

Section Chair Kyla Lines chaired the meeting. Past section chair Debra Gold introduced Judge Hidetoshi Azechi, who is visiting from the Kyoto District Court in Japan. Judge Azechi is studying the judicial system here, and is eager to sit in on various types of hearings and trials.

Lynn Pasqualetti and Lawrence Waller of section sponsor HLM Financial Group explained the services their firm offers. These include accounting and tax services, with special emphasis on tax planning around a divorce. They encourage divorcing couples to do some tax planning before the divorce is finalized, so that they can consider how to structure things in a way that minimizes the tax load. The firm can also help clients get caught up on filing returns and resolving issues with the IRS. In addition, the firm offers investment planning services. These investment services provide fee-based, independent advice that is individually tailored for each client.

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