We just lost our CPS attorney, and so I'm having to get refreshed and handle some hearings, and was hit this morning with a bit of a sticky question: If you schedule the required "full adversarial hearing" pretty close to the 14 days, as it seems logical to do to allow service on all parties, then what do you do when one of the indigent parties wants to contest the temporary placement and requests an attorney? I found some comments in Ch. 262 about this happening, but did not see any direct statutory authority for delaying the adversarial hearing beyond the 14 days. I wonder if anyone has case law, or knows of authority to allow the judge to go beyond 14 days? Any other ways to handle this scenario? Thanks!
There are several Fort Worth cases which have held that dismissal is not required by a trial court's failure to timely hold a 14 day hearing. In re B.T., 154 S.W.3d 200, 208-09 (Tex.App.-Fort Worth 2004, no pet.). Tindal and Sampson also opine that "Sometimes, the mandate [to hold the hearing within 14 days] is delayed and the full adversary hearing must be continued thanks to difficulties with achieving service on respondent parents or the natural delay caused by appointment of counsel for indigent parents." Sampson & Tindall's Texas Family Code at 1092 (August 2005 edition)
Thanks for the cite David. I had seen the comments in the annotated book, but was a little skittish about relying on just that. Good to have some precedent to rely on.
The judge here handles this by convening the 14 day hearing, and then re-convening it. She believes that satisfies the requirement for having a hearing within 14 days, and still can allow for more time for the parents to consult with their attorney.
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