For more than three decades, attorney Terry Chucas has handled dependency appeals in San Diego and Los Angeles Counties. In this role, Terry Chucas represents children and their parents in cases involving child removal and reunification. Under California law, parents can elect for removed children to be placed under the care of relatives.
During a dependency case, extended family members and, in some cases, close friends can take on caregiver rights. California recognizes relatives with a close blood relation, including siblings, grandparents, and step-family members. The court must also notify close family members of a child’s removal within 30 days.
While the court is obligated to prioritize the placement of a removed child with related caregivers, this process can only occur if a willing individual comes forward before the first court hearing. Grandparents may be granted visitation rights, even if the child is not placed in their care. The court also generally recognizes the right of a child to maintain contact with their siblings.
A San Diego lawyer with more than two decades of experience, Terry Chucas has represented clients in complex and high-conflict divorce cases in the Superior Court of San Diego. Terry Chucas holds an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and currently works on appeals cases in dependency court.
Dependency court cases involve a situation where a child has been removed from a home due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment. Once the judge has made the dependency decision, an appellate court will hear any appeals. The appeals process entails a thorough review of all records from the trial court proceedings, which includes attorney-written briefs, hearings, and papers filed with the court.
The purpose of the review is to verify that no legal errors were made and that the court correctly understood the law. Because an appeal is not a new trial, an appellate court will generally not accept new evidence or allow new witnesses to testify. Once it has fully reviewed the case, the appellate court can affirm the trial court’s judgment, modify the judgment, or review the judgment either fully or in part. If the judgment is reversed, it returns to the trial court for retrial.
An attorney working in San Diego, Terry Chucas represents parents and children in dependency court appeals. Terry Chucas has been working as an attorney for over three decades and has handled thousands of cases with hundreds of trial appearances.
Typically, abuse and neglect cases that end up in the dependency courtstart with a reported concern. Reports that a child is being neglected or abused are investigated by a social worker, who interviews the child and other people involved in the report. The social worker can choose one of several courses of action.
If no evidence of abuse is found, the social worker can decide to take no action. If necessary, the social worker connects the parents with free services to help them raise their children more effectively and safely.
Alternately, the social worker may choose to leave the child in the care of the parents and file a petition with the court. The court then opens a case to protect the child.
In extreme cases, the social worker decides to remove the child from the parents’ care immediately. The social worker places the child with another relative or in a foster home and files a petition with the court to open a case to protect the child.
Terry Chucas of San Diego possesses decades of experience as a family attorney. Selected for the Dependency Appellate Panel for the Fourth District Court of Appeal (San Diego), Terry Chucas represents parents and children in dependency court appeals.
In dependency courtproceedings, there are three common types of hearings. Detention court hearings happen when children are removed from their parents. At the hearing, the judge decides if it is safe for the children to go back into the care of their parents until the next hearing.
In a jurisdictional hearing, the judge hears the allegations against a parent whose child has been removed. If the judge determines that the child is unsafe with his or her parents, the child will become a dependent of the court.
In a dispositional hearing, a judge determines what, if anything, a parent needs to do to improve conditions for his or her child. Dispositional hearings are sometimes a part of the jurisdictional hearing.
Attorney Terry Chucas graduated from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law at the University of San Diego. During his career in the San Diego area, he has handled more than 1,500 cases and about 350 trials. In addition, Terry Chucas belongs to the San Diego Bar Association (SDBA).
With a goal of serving the county’s lawyers and the San Diego area as a whole, the SDBA helps residents find qualified lawyers, educates the public regarding specific laws, and assists in resolving disputes. Founded in 1899, it offers more than 300 hours of continuing legal education (CLE) opportunities as well as numerous networking opportunities for its members.
One of the CLE sessions offered by the SDBA took place on September 6, 2017. Entitled What Every Lawyer Needs to Know about Immigration Law, the webinar was worth 1.5 ethics and professionalism CLE credits. The one-hour program helped practitioners who wanted a refresher on immigration law. They learned how immigration law can affect just one person or a larger corporation. The session also touched on ethical issues, the rights of non-citizens in the country, and H-1B visas.
A graduate of the Thomas Jefferson School of Law, Terry Chucas works as a family attorney in San Diego, California. Concentrating on dependency appeals, he has qualified as a panel member with the California Appellate Project in Los Angeles and with Appellate Defenders Inc. in San Diego. Terry Chucas also maintains membership with the San Diego County Bar Association (SDCBA).
Established in 1899, the SDCBA represents lawyers within the San Diego County and community. In addition to helping local residents find qualified lawyers and resolve disputes, SDCBA educates the public about specific laws. Further, SDCBA members have opportunities to garner continuing legal education (CLE) credit through the organization’s supplemental education programs offered each year.
One of the CLE courses offered by the SDCBA was a court practice series on family law court. Held on November 29, 2016, at Family Law Court in San Diego, this course featured the Honorable Patricia Guerrero and Brigid Campo, Esq., who is the chair of the SDCBA Family Law Section. New attorneys who completed the course partook in practice-focused discussions such as the importance of professionalism and specific court etiquette. Those who finished the course earned 1.0 general CLE credit.
A veteran San Diego, California, attorney, Terry Chucas has practiced law for over two decades. Currently focused on dependency appeals and serving on the dependency appellate panel for district courts in California, Terry Chucas is a member of the San Diego County Bar Association (SDCBA). The SDCBA recently launched the Student Civics Engagement Academy to bring civics education to high school seniors in the community.
Civic education helps children learn the skills needed to succeed in today’s work environment. It empowers young adults in areas such as communication, critical thinking, collaboration, problem-solving, creativity, and entrepreneurship. However, as many school districts in California are phasing out civics from their K-12 curriculum, many young people graduate high school without learning civics.
SDCBA’s Student Civics Engagement Academy seeks to ensure high school seniors graduate with a strong understanding and appreciation of civics. The pilot initiative will admit 20-30 high school seniors who will be taught the role of civics and its applications through examples drawn from the surrounding community. Individual modules will be taught by business leaders, judges, attorneys, civics teachers, and conflict resolution professionals.
Through the training, SDCBA hopes teenagers will gain a better understanding of the democratic process, the operations of both national and state governments, their individual human rights and liberties, and their civic duties to vote and participate in discussions on policy making.