Steve and Renee were great to work with! Very professional and realistic. Gave no false expectations or predictions. They communicated everything to us in a timely manner. We will definitely use them again if ever needed! Thank you, Steve and your team!


For my family law case, Steve Smith had a very strong presence and was dominant in the courtroom. The manner in which he carries out cases is something you see in the movies. He was really animated and passionate about my case. His military background is a big asset, and he really helped me out. I would highly recommend him.


We hired Leah M. Baldacci for a family law case and she was so extremely helpful and got me through my case. She’s very professional and takes the time to listen to her clients. She’s a wonderful advocate and a fantastic attorney. If you’re looking for a great attorney, I recommend Leah. Thank you so much for your legal help.

Anonymous Client

I’ve hired Steve for two cases, and I am very pleased with my decision. He fights for his clients and strives for the best outcome. His entire staff is pleasant and wonderful to work with.


I hired Steve for a parental rights case involving my 2 children. He was aggressive but supportive and did not file unnecessary motions that wasted my retainer. I was terrified of court, but with his experience, I felt at ease. The process was explained, and his staff was great as well. I would hire him again if needed and received a great outcome with an order that works for me and my children.

Handled my Parental Rights Case with Ease

Practice Areas
Maine DHHS Investigations Lawyers

Maine DHHS Investigations Lawyers

Abuse of a child, including sexual abuse, may be reported to Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). If DHHS finds the claim to be credible, they will investigate the matter. The result of these investigations can range from nothing to termination of parental rights. Such investigations can also result in the allegations being determined to be “substantiated” or “indicated” in DHHS’s secret files. 

When the abuser is your partner, or the child’s other parent, seeking protection through DHHS is important, but it is rarely enough to protect your family completely. DHHS case workers (sometimes referred to as CPS or Child Protective Services workers) are often overworked. The job has a high turnover of young or inexperienced caseworkers who have an agenda. To fully protect your rights and those of your children, you need representation from a Maine family law attorney with a strong understanding of DHHS investigations.

We Fight For You In Court And Beyond

Physical or sexual abuse of minors is a complex area of law. You need a lawyer who has ample experience successfully handling these emotionally charged and legally complicated cases. Steve Smith has a history of aggressively fighting for the rights of parents and children in Maine family courtrooms. He and his team understand how to handle evidence, statements, and court appearances involving children and abuse. You can count on Steve to stand up for your child’s best interests, no matter what it takes.

Possible Outcomes Of A DHHS Investigation

DHHS investigations may include any credible reports of neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, or emotional abuse. The results of their investigations are grouped into three categories:

  • Substantiated: The evidence indicates that serious abuse or neglect occurred. Such findings allow the Department to keep records on the abuser indefinitely and report their status of substantiated to licensing agencies for medical workers, nurses, doctors, teachers, daycare workers, and other child-centered professions. A substantiation finding can significantly affect child custody and contact.
  • Indicated: There is sufficient evidence that a child suffered abuse of low to moderate severity. An “indication” allows the Department to keep records indefinitely.
  • Unsubstantiated: This means that DHHS determined the abuse or neglect in question didn’t happen or there is insufficient evidence of abuse.

STEVE SMITH Trial Lawyers have vast experience handling DHHS investigations. Our Maine Trial Attorneys will help you understand these distinctions and guide you moving forward.

Defending Your Family After A DHHS Investigation

Child abuse involving your former spouse or partner will certainly impact any family law case involving your children-even if the allegations are labeled unsubstantiated. When Maine courts make determinations that affect children, such as in child custody and child protective cases, they prioritize the children’s best interests, using a list of factors such as:

  • The relationship between each parent and child
  • Each child’s preference – if mature enough to voice a preference
  • The stability of each parent’s living arrangements
  • Each parent’s ability and motivation to cooperate with the other parent when co-parenting
  • Whether domestic violence involving the parents is an issue

The court can seriously curtail or even deny a parent’s access to visitation with their children if the judge determines it to be in the child’s best interests.

While it may be obvious to you that your child needs protection, many parents are surprised when they encounter doubt or disbelief in court. In family law cases involving abuse, significant evidence and documentation are required to obtain the desired outcome. Skilled questioning on direct or cross-examination is often necessary to reveal the truth. Hiring the right family law attorney can make all the difference.

An Experienced Maine Family Law Attorney On Your Side

When your children’s emotional and physical well-being is at stake, nothing should be left to chance. The compassionate family law attorneys at STEVE SMITH Trial Lawyers understand your concern for your children, and we are well-prepared to skillfully advocate for your family. We know exactly what it takes to document abuse in court, and we do not shy away from tough situations. You and your case are important, so please don’t hesitate to reach out and contact us for more information about how we can help you today.

Trusted Attorneys

On Your Side

Family law matters are often challenging, and you need a tenacious attorney to protect your best interests. Whether you’re facing a divorce or a custody battle, our lawyers are prepared to safeguard your future.

Proven Success

steve smith & jack baldacci

“We hired Leah M. Baldacci at Steve Smith for a family law case, and she was so extremely helpful and got me through a difficult time. She’s very professional and takes the time to listen to her clients. She’s a wonderful advocate and a fantastic attorney. If you are looking for a divorce attorney that actually cares, I recommend Leah. Thank you so much for your help.”

– Carlton

Accolades &

What Our Clients Say

Advocating For Your Family

To Protect What’s Important

We understand that your priority is to secure a better future, whether that’s through a divorce or by modifying your parenting arrangements. Our skilled attorneys use every resource at our disposal to overcome obstacles. Our full commitment to you drives us to achieve outstanding results.

To learn more about the cases we work with, please view our Practice Areas.


STEVE SMITH Trial Lawyers

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