You love your children and though you may try to do everything possible to ensure that your children needs are met, there are times when you may come up short and life becomes frustrating for you. In most cases, when this happens you are able to get back on equal footing, calm down, and continue to take care of your children. However, in some cases, the frustration may get the better of you and you may find yourself in a less than perfect circumstance. In Florida, if it is believed that you or someone else has harmed your child, they are allowed and encouraged to report what they believe to be going on. When this happens, the Florida Department of Children and Families and an investigator will be notified and dispatched to conduct an investigation on you and your family. In this case, it is important to know the process of child dependency cases and what to expect in your case. If you or a loved one is seeking information in this area, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced Brevard County family law attorney so that we can strategize about the best possible outcomes for your situation.
The Child Dependency Process
In Florida, the first process that you will go through when you have been reported to the Florida Department of Children and Families is a Shelter Hearing. A Shelter Hearing determines whether your child has been abused, neglected, or abandoned and determines whether your children will be able to stay in your home or be removed from your home. If your children have been taken out of the home, the most valuable thing you can do is make your home as safe as possible while ensuring that you are able to take proper care of your children by a specific time. Next you will go to an Arraignment Hearing where the Court will review any allegations against you which you will have to admit to the allegations, consent or deny the allegations which a plan will be put into place to do whatever is necessary to obtain your children. It is important to note, that if the allegations are denied then you will have to have an Adjudicatory Hearing whereas you will be put on trial and there will be witnesses to confirm or deny any allegations against you. Lastly, as for hearings, is a Disposition Hearing where the court will review your case plan and determine whether or not you should have your children in your care. In Florida, every six months, there will be a judicial review to look into the progress of the parent/parents. The goal is for you to be reunified with your children and this can sometimes be difficult depending on your situation, but it is not impossible and with the help of an attorney these goals can become a reality.
Need Legal Advice?
Though this time may be frustrating and overwhelming, it is not impossible for you to get your children back. The child dependency process can be a long process or a short process depending on you, but you do not have to be alone during this process. When you are presented with this situation, seeking adequate legal advice and representation is invaluable to your case because an attorney can help you evaluate your circumstances. If you or a loved one is under investigation for child abuse, neglect, or dependency, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced family law attorney at Henderson Legal Group to help you with your case. Contact our office today for a free consultation!