What is the difference between parties and participants in CHIPS cases?

“Parties” include:

  • Petitioner (usually the county)
  • Child’s legal custodian
  • Child’s guardian ad litem
  • Child’s Indian tribe (if applicable)
  • Others who intervene as a party and/or are deemed by the court to be important to the resolution that is in the best interests of the child

Parties have all the following rights:

  • Notice of hearing
  • Legal representation
  • Ability to conduct discovery
  • Subpoena witnesses
  • Make arguments
  • Present evidence
  • Bring motions
  • Appeal orders

“Participants” include:

  • The child
  • Parent who is not legal custodian
  • Any alleged/presumed father
  • Relatives
  • Foster parents
  • Any other person deemed by the court to be important to a resolution that is in the best interests of the child.

Participants have the following rights:

  • Notice and copy of CHIPS petition
  • Right to attend the hearing
  • Offering information at the discretion of the court
  • Foster parents (considered “participant’s plus) have the right to be heard in any hearing regarding the child
  • Can move to intervene as parties
  • Intervention may be discretionary
  • Or Intervention of right


What Happens After a Report of Child Maltreatment?

After a report is made, it is first “screened” to see if it meets criteria to be assigned for a Child Protection Services (CPS) response. These criteria should be dictated by a state statute, but many mandated reporters and lawyers see significant variation in how state statutes are interpreted or applied at the initial screening stage of the process

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Reporting Suspected Child Maltreatment

According to the Department of Human Services, Minnesota counties and tribes review approximately 18,000 reports of possible child abuse and neglect. Hennepin County alone receives approximately 15,000 reports per year regarding possible child abuse or neglect.

On average, these calls result in about 5,200 investigations or assessments which may involve more than one child or allegation.

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Spousal Maintenance: Starting Now Until Retirement?

Part III: Retirement Savings Plan Not Followed

Suppose that in yet a different divorce*, a spousal maintenance award is granted stating that: “Upon a motion for modification of spousal maintenance, each party shall be held to a “prudent investor” standard. Neither party is expected to withdraw from his or her retirement assets unless it is for an emergency or as a part of retirement.

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Client Communication with Opposing Party:Sixth Standard

Sixth Standard: R-E-L-A-X

Often time cases are made more difficult because parties love to text each other.  Now we all text message in both our professional and personal lives. However, in the context of a family law matter, clients must be aware of the risks that come with text messaging. A lot of clients are aware that they should not be talking on the telephone with the other party as that’s only going to lead to an argument. The inability to consistently get someone on the telephone increases the advantage of text messaging – just text and they’ll get it when they read it. Oftentimes text message communications go too far.

It’s entirely too easy to respond to a text message quickly and without consideration. Though we generally encourage clients to use text messages to acknowledge emergencies or delays where email would be inconvenient, such practice should be limited. Though email tends to be a little slower and a little more onerous, the average typing ability still allows people to better articulate themselves than typing everything with thumbs. Text messaging encourages abbreviations, brevity, and emojis-many of which parties wish they could take back after they’ve been sent.

Hence, the last principle is to relax. By this I mean, you don’t need to respond to every communication right away. With the principle of relaxing, I challenge you to do the following practice: determine more than one way to respond. Conceptually give in to your base instincts and determine how you want to respond. Then, because you’re challenging yourself to think of more than one response, perhaps you’ll think about any of the above principles to come up with another way to respond. Perhaps the second way you’re thinking about is the kind respond. Perhaps another one is focused on what’s best for the children. Perhaps the third one does both of those and demonstrates your understanding. If you relax and think of more than one response in time principles of this blog post will easily guide you as to which response to send.