- Juvenile Court Services
- Working with Your Attorney
Working with Your Attorney
Keeping in Contact With Your Attorney
- Make sure your voicemail is set-up and your mailbox has space for new messages
- If there is a time in the day when you are more likely to be available, share that with your dependency team or leave that information on your voicemail.
- Click here for information to access a free phone
- Make sure to check your email daily for updates.
- We recommend you create a new email account just for your child’s dependency. This will help you keep all of your electronic information organized.
- If you do not have reliable internet access, remember, you can use your local library to get free computer access.
- If you do not have reliable access to phone or email, enlist someone you see regularly and trust to communicate messages to you to. Share their contact information with your dependency team
The Court will appoint an attorney to represent you for free.
- If you do not want a Court-appointed attorney, you may choose your own legal representation and will be responsible for their fee.
The Temporary Custody Notice will tell you how to contact your attorney.
- Your attorney’s contact information will also be included in the notice Preliminary Protective Conference and Hearing, delivered to you by the DCS case manager within 24 hours after the dependency is filed.
- If you do not receive the Temporary Custody Notice and/ or the Preliminary Protective Conference and Hearing notification, contact your DCS Investigator or contact your DCS home office.
If you have misplaced your attorney’s information or cannot recall who your court-appointed attorney is, please contact Defense Services; they are happy to help.
- Your attorney is your legal advocate, that means they focus on your legal rights and wishes in connection to the dependency case and advocate your position before the Court.
- Your attorney should help you understand your rights.
- Your attorney will keep all private information confidential; that is attorney-client privilege.
- Your attorney should advise you on the strengths and weaknesses of your case and offer legal advice. They can provide an honest assessment of your progress in the dependency and recommend a course of action.
- Your attorney will determine a legal strategy for you and may coordinate with outside parties to help resolve any issues you may be facing in the dependency.
- The Court, not your attorney, will determine when or if a parent can get their children back; your attorney will work to help the court understand your position and what steps you are taking to ensure your children’s safety.
- Make sure your contact information is up to date.
- Ask questions about anything you do not understand. You and your attorney can make the best decisions when you are well-informed about the process.
- Speak with your attorney prior to every hearing.
- Be honest. Your discussions with your attorney are confidential. The more accurate information they have, the better they can serve you.
- Give your attorney at least one business day to respond to any calls, emails or texts.
Make sure you have a reliable communication method for your attorney to contact you.
- If you hired your own attorney, dismiss him or her and hire a new one.
- If you have a court-appointed attorney, follow these steps as written:
1. Set an appointment with the attorney to discuss the problem and try to fix it.
2. If there is no resolution after the meeting, then send a written letter to the attorney listing the specifics on the problem. Use your logs to help you with dates and times. Keep a copy of the letter.
3. If the problem is still unresolved, ask your attorney to withdraw from your case. You may want to do this in writing as well as verbally.
4. If all of the above steps fail to resolve the situation, talk to the judge in court.