Who is considered party to a case? Who can become party to a case?
I assume bio mother and father are usually party to a case. Or, in my girl's case, only the bio mother is party to the case since bio dad has never been in the picture. So, can grandparents become party to the case if they live with bio mom? Can a new husband become party to the case if they got married after the kids were in care?

Just wanted some clarification. Thanks!
Where I am, the state/DCF care provider is a party to the case, the GAL program is a party to the case, and each of the biological parents are a party to the case.

Here, I believe anyone "with an interest" in the case can file a motion to intervene (ie, become a party to the case). The judge can either grant or deny the motion.

I don't know how much this varies from state-to-state.
Ooh, that's interesting. So, if new "dad" or say, the FP wanted to become party to the case they could be?
Technically, yes.

But do keep in mind that the lawyers of the current parties will be able to argue for or against and the judge will either grant or deny -- granting party status is not a given.
Some states only allow foster parents to become a party after having the child for 6 months or a year. Some states (like IL and MA, I believe) don't allow it at all. If Lala's case ends up with a 6 month extension at the permanency hearing that's happening soon, we will be intervening to become a party to the case.
What are benefits to becoming party to the case?
Being a party gives you full access to all the court records, notice for everything and the ability to be represented fully in court. We are a party to Peanut's case and we can file motions, cross examine witnesses, etc.
HopingForForever said...
Some states only allow foster parents to become a party after having the child for 6 months or a year.


Where I am, while I don't think there are any statutes on when an FP can become a party to the case, I find it difficult to believe that a motion to intervene would be granted before the kiddos had been in care for nine months (normally, that's the earliest they'll consider TPR).
Hmm, all good things to consider. I mostly wondered about new "dad" asking to become party to the case but it's good to know about my own status as well. I'm very nervous about the next visits and if this man will be introduced as "dad." These kids are so confused as it is.
They will add dad if they figure out who he is. On our cases they just put "unknown father" as a party.

Grandparents can be added easily if the judge feels that they are a viable option. We filed a motion to intervene after termination. Here it's only 3 months before you can file that motion, but there probably isn't much you can do anyway that early on.
LemonPie said...
Where I am, while I don't think there are any statutes on when an FP can become a party to the case, I find it difficult to believe that a motion to intervene would be granted before the kiddos had been in care for nine months (normally, that's the earliest they'll consider TPR).


I agree. I believe there aren't any official statues here either, but it is pretty much my understanding that it is 6 months here because we have a 6 month permanency law. So it's either RU, TPR or 6 month extensions at that point in the case because there is always a permanency hearing after 6 months in care. There has to be a lot of progress made by parents to get a 6 month extension and they have to clearly be on the path to RU. Unless there's some technicality which I'm praying doesn't end up factoring in to our case.
No, I didn't mean bio dad. They know who he is. I meant bio mother's new husband.
Even if "new dad" was awarded party status (if they're married now, likely it would be granted), I don't think much would change for you especially since he's not exactly a stellar citizen.
All times are GMT. The time now is 5:10 pm.
TOP