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Protective Proceedings FAQs


​Yes.  You have the right to be represented by an attorney at each phase of a child protective proceeding.  If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you by the Court at no expense.


​In most cases, you have the right to parenting time with your child during your case.  The amount and type of parenting time might be different for each case.  Any concerns regarding parenting time should be discussed with your attorney, or if you represent yourself, with the court during your next hearing.


​With respect to proceedings to terminate parental rights, there is no right to a jury trial.  You do, however, have the right to a jury trial at the initial adjudication, or when the Court first seeks to take jurisdiction over your child(ren).


​If your child is a member, or eligible for membership, in a federally recognized American Indian tribe or band, additional rights may apply in your case.  Please indicate to your caseworker or to the court as soon as possible if there is any possibility of Indian heritage.


​Upon removal, it is important for you to identify any potential relatives who are fit and willing to take the child.  The DHHS is obligated to seek placement with a relative caregiver before placing the child in foster care.  If there are no suitable relatives, DHHS will choose the foster care placement for your child.




If you have any further questions, please contact the Family Court Clerk’s Office at (269) 673-0534.  You should also seek assistance from your attorney or your caseworker.