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Fort Lauderdale Dependency Attorney

A dependency lawsuit is filed by the state of Florida when there have been allegations of abuse or neglect by a family member, friend, neighbor, teacher, or other person. The Department of Child and Family Services, does not pursue criminal actions against you, the parent or the guardian, in a dependency lawsuit. A dependency lawsuit is initiated for the safety and welfare of the child. However unfounded or baseless these accusations may be, it is critical that you immediately contact an attorney. Please contact our Fort Lauderdale dependency attorneys at Joyce A. Julian, P.A. today for immediate assistance.

The Filing of a Shelter Petition

Upon further investigation, a Department of Child and Family Services representative will either conclude that there is evidence of abuse, neglect, or abandonment, and upon that decision may have a shelter petition filed. A shelter petition means that the state of Florida will come and take your children away. This may be a temporary ordeal during which the state will attempt to offer rehabilitative steps for you as the guardian, or you may lose your parental rights altogether.

24 Hour Deadline

If a petition for shelter is initiated, the state must have a hearing within a very short time frame: just 24 hours. It is during this time that you must jump to action by calling an attorney. You must show up to court during this hearing well prepared with a rational, calm demeanor and you must be able to clearly and accurately express yourself and the circumstances surrounding whatever events or conditions have led to this state of affairs. An attorney will help you prepare and will ensure that your rights are fully protected throughout your hearing.

Will My Child be Put in a Shelter?

A child taken into custody may be put in a child shelter. Before being placed in a shelter, however, there must be a court hearing unless the following criteria are met, according to Florida statute 39.402. There is probable cause to believe that:

  • The child has been neglected, abused, abandoned, is suffering from injury or illness caused by one or more of those, or is in danger of injury or illness;
  • A condition of placement imposed by the court has been violated by a parent or guardian; or
  • The child has no parent, guardian, or other person to take them into their care.

According to the Florida Center for Child Welfare, when your child is taken away, they should have told you where your child was being taken unless there is strong reason to believe that you knowing where your child is would cause harm.

Call a Fort Lauderdale Dependency Attorney Today

If you are facing a dependency lawsuit, it is crucial that you work with a compassionate attorney that will do everything in their power to help you and your child stay together. The professional attorneys at the office of Joyce A. Julian, P.A. are here to help you in this dire time of need. Do not hesitate to reach out to us today for legal guidance.

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